BY Ryan McDougall | May 1 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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Pope Francis reflects on importance of workers at Mass

Pope Francis offered Mass for workers today as the Church celebrates the feast of St Joseph the Worker.

During Mass this morning, the pope prayed and reflected on the importance of dignity and justice in the world of work.

He said: “Today, on the feast of St Joseph the Worker and the day dedicated to workers, let us pray for all workers, so that no one might be without work and all might be paid a just wage. May they benefit from the dignity of work and the beauty of rest.”

A statue of St Joseph the Worker was present at the Mass, celebrated in the Casa Santa Marta.

God’s work

The Pope reflected on God’s ‘work’ of creating mankind and the universe.

He said: “Work is exactly the continuation of the work of God. Human labour is the vocation that mankind received from God ever since the creation of the universe.

“It is work that makes us similar to God, because through work, men and women act as creators, and are capable of creating many things, even of creating a family.”

‘Man’s first vocation’

He added: “Work contains goodness within itself, creates harmony between things—beauty, goodness—and involves every part of the person. This is man’s first vocation: work. This gives dignity to mankind. Dignity makes us similar to God.”

He told a story of a man who went to a nearby Caritas centre to ask for food.

An employee told him, ‘at least you can bring some bread home,’ though the man replied, ‘but it’s not enough to bring food home. I want to earn my daily bread.’

‘Lacking dignity’

The man was ‘lacking dignity’ the Pope said, ‘to ‘make’ his own bread through his work.’

Pope Francis stated the dignity of work has been ‘trampled upon’ throughout history, with examples including the transatlantic slave trade, as well as modern slavery.

“Today there are many slaves,” he stated. “Many men and women who are not free to work: they are forced for enough to live on, nothing more. They are slaves to forced labour, and poorly paid.

Long hours

He mentioned those who work 12-14 hour shifts for poor wages, reminding those who listened to his homily that this happens all over the world.

“Every injustice inflicted upon a person who works means trampling upon human dignity, even the dignity of the person who carries out the injustice,” he continued.

“On the other hand, the vocation God gives us is much higher: to create, re-create, work. But this can be done when the conditions are just and human dignity is respected.”

Fairer rights

The Pope finished his homily be urging humanity to unite with those who work, those who fight for fairer rights at work, for with business owners who treat their employees fairly.

“We ask St Joseph—with this beautiful image with the tools of work in hand—to help us fight for the dignity of work, so that there might be work for all and that it might be dignified work, not the work of a slave.”

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