Today the Church celebrates a feast of St. Joseph the Worker. This day gives us pause to reflect upon the dignity of work. Through our labors, we are co-creators in a sense, laboring with the elements of God’s good creation, to produce the goods for the world’s population. Labor is also a means of continuing to discover the secrets of God’s creation in order to better sustain the human person and community with the dignity they deserve. The more obvious beauty of human labor is the means it provides to support those we love, namely, the human family.
May is also dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Mary is the Mother of Jesus and through Jesus, the Mother of the Church. This month we are all invited to seek Mary’s intercession on behalf of all families, especially the family of God that is the Church. This Year of Faith is a call to all of us to grow in our relationship with Jesus, and Mary desires nothing more than to draw us close to her Son.
Of course, when we think of Joseph and Mary together, we think of the Holy Family. And, today, there are many families that are in need of our practical assistance, namely, the many families that are separated because of our nation’s immigration laws.
When I was in Gillette a few weeks ago, I met briefly with three individuals from our Hispanic community. They made a strong plea on behalf of all the Latinos that I as their bishop do all that I can to encourage immigration reform. There are numerous reasons for their plea, but one of the most urgent is that our present immigration laws are keeping families apart, or threatening to take parents from children.
Many of the individuals that came here years ago have had families. Their children are now legal citizens of the US because they were born here. Their parents have worked here and have made great contributions to the communities where they live, often taking jobs that no one else wants. They live with a fear that one day, they could be deported, possibly never seeing their spouse or children again.
Our current immigration laws would require that illegal immigrants to return to their native homeland prior to applying for permission to enter the country. The present law also requires that these persons ‘get at the end of the line’ to make application, sometimes waiting up to ten years. As you can imagine, this would be an intolerable burden on a husband, father, wife or mother, families to make.
So, as we honor St. Joseph today along with the Blessed Mother this month, let us keep in our prayers the immigrants. Let us pray for just legislation. Let us pray for the strengthening of all families. Let us pray for the many unemployed. Let us pray for the peace and harmony of all God’s family. May we learn to live in peace. May we strive to work for justice for all.0