St James Catholic

Primary School

In the loving peace, justice and joy of Jesus, we achieve.

Summer 1 - The Dignity of Work

The Dignity of Work


The dignity of work has been a key principle of Catholic social teaching from the very beginning.

Catholic Social Teaching believes that work is dignified, special and very important. Therefore, workers must always be respected – this includes fair wages and fair working conditions.

Jesus himself was a worker. He became “like us in all things, devoted most of the years of his life on earth to manual work at the carpenter’s bench.”


The Church says that the worker is always more important than the work. Work exists for the sake of people, not the other way around. In our work we participate in God’s work of creation. It should give people a sense of self worth, as they contribute to society, and support themselves and their family. Everyone should have safe working conditions and correct pay.


Chosen Saint - Saint Joseph


St. Joseph was the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew calls him a “righteous man,” meaning he was an observant Jew who obeyed God’s law. Saint Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family. From him, Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to work to allow you to eat.


As we know, the first feast day of Saint Joseph is on March 19th. This date was passed down through the years and formalised by Rome in the 15th century. It was officially added to the Roman calendar in 1621.


However, in 1955, Pope Pius IX decided that there would be a second feast day for Saint Joseph. As he is known as the patron saint of workers, May 1st would be celebrated as the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. 

This is particularly apt, as May 1st is also the date of International Workers’ Day.