Contributing to the Common Good this Labor Day
September 1, 2023 • Diocese of St. Augustine

My dear brothers and sisters,

As we gather on this Labor Day, let us reflect upon the profound teachings of our Catholic faith and draw inspiration from the sacred scriptures. In our world today, the concept of labor is more than just a means of livelihood; it is a testament to our human dignity, a way to participate in the ongoing act of creation and a means to contribute to the common good.

The book of Genesis reminds us that we are created in the image and likeness of God, the Divine Worker. Just as God labored to bring forth the world and all its beauty, we too are called to engage in meaningful work that honors our shared humanity. Our labor, whether it be in the office, the factory, the field or the home, has the potential to be an expression of love, service and stewardship.

Catholic social teaching emphasizes the dignity of work and the rights of workers. As we commemorate Labor Day, we are called to remember the inherent worth of every individual engaged in labor. It is our responsibility to ensure that workplaces are safe, just and respectful of human dignity. Fair wages, reasonable working hours and the protection of workers’ rights are all integral aspects of building a society that reflects the values of justice and solidarity.

In his encyclical “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis beautifully articulated that “Work should be the setting for this rich personal growth, where many aspects of life enter into play: creativity, planning for the future, developing our talents, living out our values, relating to others, giving glory to God.” It is through our labor that we participate in God’s ongoing creation and collaborate in the unfolding of his plan for humanity. On this Labor Day, let us recommit ourselves to valuing and upholding the dignity of all workers, to seeking justice for those who are marginalized, and to recognizing the spiritual significance of the work we undertake.

As we take a moment to rest and celebrate the fruits of our labor, let us also remember to offer gratitude to God for the opportunities we have been given. May our work continue to be a source of blessing for ourselves and for others, and may our efforts contribute to the building of a society rooted in love, compassion and justice.

May the intercession of St. Joseph the Worker, who tirelessly provided for the Holy Family, guide and inspire us in our daily labors.

In Christ,

Most Rev. Erik T. Pohlmeier
Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine