From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy
This Monday we celebrate Labor Day and we honor all those who labor for a living. We thank them for their service to their families, and for their service to all those who benefit from their efforts. As we know, prayer and work go hand in hand. Therefore we are invited to pray in a special way for all laborers. We also pray for the unemployed and underemployed, and pray that more opportunities for gainful employment will materialize for those in need.
Pope Francis throughout his life has experienced the reality and rewards of hard work. He has recently stated that work “…is fundamental to the dignity of the person. It gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one’s family, (and) to contribute to the growth of one’s own nation.” Just a few years ago, Pope Benedict also spoke about the value of human labor. He reminded us that Jesus himself was a laborer and that labor is clearly important to the human experience. He urged us to respect the importance of labor and the laborer.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also recognizes the importance of the laborer and Labor Day. It recently issued a pronouncement that stated that “… work helps us to realize our humanity and is necessary for human flourishing.” “Labor Day gives us the chance to see how work in America matches up to the lofty ideals of our Catholic tradition.”
As we celebrate this day, we are invited to make it more than a day of rest and cookouts. It should also be a day of prayer as we honor those who labor in the spirit of Jesus and St. Joseph. We therefore once again share with you this wonderful prayer provided by one of our Catholic spiritual organizations.
LABOR DAY PRAYER
On this weekend, when we rest from our usual labors, loving Father,
we pray for all who shoulder the tasks of human labor –
In the marketplace, in factories and offices, in the professions, and in family living.
We thank you, Lord, for the gift and opportunity of work,
may our efforts always be pure of heart, for the good of others and the glory of your name.
We lift up to you all who long for just employment
and those who work to defend the rights and needs of workers everywhere.
May those of us who are now retired always remember that we still make a valuable contribution
to our Church and our world by our prayers and deeds of charity.
May our working and our resting all give praise to you
until the day we share together in eternal rest with all our departed in your kingdom
as you live and reign Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.