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Monday, March 20, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAR 19, 2006 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 9.30 a.m. today, Benedict XVI presided at a Mass for workers in remembrance of St. Joseph, whose feast day, March 19, will be celebrated tomorrow, Monday March 20, because this year it coincides with the third Sunday of Lent.

  Concelebrating with the Pope were Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome; Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference; and Bishop Arrigo Miglio, president of the Italian episcopal commission for social and labor problems, for justice and peace. At the beginning of the ceremony, Bishop Miglio congratulated the Holy Father for his name day.

  In his homily, the Holy Father recalled how, according to the Bible, "work is part of the original condition of man," and forms part of "the divine plan." He went on: "The Son of God Himself, becoming like us in all respects, dedicated many years to manual labor, so much so that he became known as the 'carpenter's son'.

  "The Church has always shown, and especially over the last century, particular attention and solicitude to this aspect of society, as evinced by the many social initiatives of the Magisterium and the activity of many Christian-inspired associations, some of which are here today to represent the entire world of work."

  The Pope then highlighted the fact that "work is of primary importance for the fulfillment of mankind and the development of society, and for this reason it must always be organized and carried out in full respect of human dignity and at the service of the common good. At the same time it is indispensable that men and women do not let themselves be enslaved by work, that they do not idolize it, expecting to find therein the final and definitive meaning of life." In this context he affirmed that "biblical teaching on work finds its coronation in the commandment to rest."

  "Work must serve the true good of humanity," said the Holy Father. "To this end, technical and professional qualifications, necessary though they may be, are not enough. Nor is it enough to create a just social order attentive to the good of all. It is necessary to live a form of spirituality that helps believers to sanctify themselves through their own work, imitating St. Joseph who every day had to provide for the needs of the Holy Family with his own hands, and who for this reason is identified by the Church as the patron saint of workers. His witness shows how mankind is both the subject and protagonist of work."

  Benedict XVI concluded by entrusting to St. Joseph "those young people who find it difficult to enter the world of work, the unemployed, and all those who suffer due to the widespread labor crisis.

  "Together with his wife Mary, may St. Joseph watch over all workers and ensure serenity and peace for families and for all humanity. Looking to this great saint, may Christians in all working environments learn to bear witness to the love of Christ, source of true solidarity and of lasting peace."
HML/ST. JOSEPH/...                                VIS 20060320 (530)

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