Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

May 1, 2020

Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.  In all his ordinariness, St. Joseph embodies the religious spirit for which all Christians long—integrity, fortitude, fidelity, and sanctity. In living out his foreboding vocation of being the husband of Mary and the foster father of the Messiah, St. Joseph remained unwavering in his loyalty, faithful to his mission, and unselfishly open to the will of God. St. Joseph did this not out of blind obedience or ignorance; he did it simply out of love.

In the Christian scriptures, he appears in only three stories and he says nothing.  The only description given of him is "he was a righteous man."  He was a person of integrity. It is this quality of integrity that Basil Moreau found particularly striking in Joseph. Fr. Moreau wrote:

 “Let us then have recourse to St. Joseph in order that we may understand the sentiments which we should make our own evermore wholeheartedly and obtain, by his powerful intercession before God, the grace of sincere esteem of our state of life, deep conviction of its duties, and the strength to manifest these sentiments in all times and places. If, however, we are to honor him as he desires, it is not enough to invoke him; we must further devotion to him and, above all, imitate his virtues and set them in opposition to the spirit of the world. This it is which makes devotion to him so timely.”

May 1 is a very special day for the Brothers of Holy Cross. In Ruille, France, 200 years ago, Fr. Jacques Dujarie founded the Brothers of St. Joseph, which became the Brother of Holy Cross.  The French Revolution dismantled the Catholic Church and left a spiritual and educational void. Men like Fr. Moreau and Fr. Dujarié made it their mission to fill that void, first separately and then together. Father Dujarié was committed to this work at all costs – personal, physical and emotional. Through his personal sacrifice and suffering, Dujarié served as a role model to all – the Brothers of St. Joseph, his parishioners and the restored Church in France.

This date is also significant to Holy Cross New Orleans. On May 1, 1849, the first Holy Cross Religious, five Brothers and three Marianites, assumed responsibility for St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum in New Orleans. Brother Vincent Pieau wrote:

 “I went there on April 25 and entered the orphan asylum on May 1. Our establishment is   composed of five Brothers, two for the classes (Brothers Basil and Louis), one for the dormitories (Brother Francis de Sales), one kitchen director (Brother Theodule), and finally I am in charge of the house and am liaison with the administration of which the Bishop is spiritual head, and the other members, all lay, are temporal heads.”

 Holy Cross owes it origin to this effort. Of the mission in New Orleans, Fr. Basil Moreau wrote in 1870:

 “I have followed you in mind and heart all along and if there is one place in which I am deeply interested and for which I have tender affection, it is assuredly New Orleans, especially because of the trials it has undergone ever since its foundation and because of its fidelity to the mother house. The Cross has been its lot and we must thank heaven for the honor of offering us the grace, for this will become a place of great blessing. Be assured that I will never forget you.”

Happy Birthday Holy Cross New Orleans!

In celebration of this feast, we invite you to view a recording of a Mass celebrated by Father Joe Moyer, C.S.C. earlier this week. Click here to view the Mass on Facebook Live.