St Joseph the Worker Pastoral Message 2022

The positive economic reports that we hear don’t seem to reflect the experience of low-income families. Statistically, unemployment rates are low. Yet an increasing number of people who are looking for work can’t find enough secure employment and are not paid a fair wage for the work that they do. [Bishop Vincent addressing the camera in or outside a café or other workplace]

Anyone who works even one hour during the Australian Bureau of Statistics ‘reference week’ is counted as being employed. So, we need to look beyond unemployment figures to understand what is happening.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

One troubling trend is increasing numbers of people working more than one job. For some, a ‘portfolio’ approach can enhance their working life. But for others it is a matter of economic necessity. They are cobbling together multiple part time or casual jobs to try to make ends meet.

This work is usually poorly paid and insecure. There is little career progression. Casual and seasonal workers are not entitled to paid leave even when they are sick or must care for others. It is a stressful and uncertain way to live. Much of this work is undertaken by women. This type of work is hard on family life. It makes it difficult for young people to get a start in life.

Working more than one insecure job is common among cleaners, health and aged care workers, childcare workers, and social assistance workers. These and other workers in the care economy have been such heroes during this pandemic! Yet they are often underpaid or placed in intolerable working conditions. It is scandalous that people who do such essential work are left in situations of scarcity and insecurity. Surely the pandemic has taught us to value this work and those who do it more highly?

Whoever forms the next Federal Government, we hope to see greater policy focus on decent work – work that is safe, secure, and fairly paid. Stable, secure jobs are needed to power a recovery that actually works for working people and their families.

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM (Conv)

Chair, Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service

Bishop of Parramatta


Click here to Read More

Vocation Centre logo


St Joseph the Worker Feast Day: To foster deep devotion to Saint Joseph among Catholics, and in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 1955. This feast extends the long relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers in both Catholic faith and devotion. Beginning in the Book of Genesis, the dignity of human work has long been celebrated as a participation in the creative work of God. By work, humankind both fulfills the command found in Genesis to care for the earth (Gn 2:15) and to be productive in their labors. Saint Joseph, the carpenter and foster father of Jesus, is but one example of the holiness of human labor.

Jesus, too, was a carpenter. He learned the trade from Saint Joseph and spent his early adult years working side-by-side in Joseph’s carpentry shop before leaving to pursue his ministry as preacher and healer. In his encyclical Laborem Exercens, Pope John Paul II stated: “the Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to help to guide [social] changes so as to ensure authentic progress by man and society.”

Saint Joseph is held up as a model of such work. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, “The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work.”


International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day in some countries, and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement which occurs every year on May Day (1 May), an ancient European spring festival.

The date was chosen by a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886.The 1904 Sixth Conference of the Second International, called on “all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.”

The first of May is a national public holiday in many countries worldwide, in most cases as “Labour Day”, “International Workers’ Day” or some similar name – although some countries celebrate a Labour Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States, which celebrates Labour Day on the first Monday of September.



Click here to Read More