In his message for Labor Day (celebrated in many parts of the world on May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker), Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, Archbishop of Bogota, called on authorities and business leaders to renew their “commitment and obligation to respect the dignity of their employees” because “the dignity of each employee is inalienable.”
The Cardinal explained that “the international celebration of labor day and the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st, provides us an opportunity to greet with special affection all workers in Colombia.”
“The Church recognizes and values the importance and dignity of human work as a source of progress and social wellbeing, as it constitutes a fundamental dimension of the existence of man on the earth,” said the Cardinal, adding that “this was the reason why Pope Pius XII in 1952 wanted to offer Christian workers a model and protector in the person of the glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, in his role as worker.”
“God has ordained and blessed work,” he continued, and He has “given man intelligence and a way to continue His work.” Nevertheless, “throughout history, these concepts have been clouded and workers have been denied their fundamental rights, such as the right to employment and to a just wage.”
Cardinal Rubiano said that “therefore, as shepherds, we implore that the feast of May 1st be a time of reflection for business leaders: they have the commitment and the obligation to recognize the dignity of their workers, making them participants of the benefits that the funds and the company provide.”
“As Christians, we contemplate blessed St. Joseph the Worker, model and example for workers, and united as Colombians we congratulate all workers, with whom we maintain the hope that social justice will become a reality, so that food will always be on the table and love and peace in our hearts and families,” he added.
On the other hand, the Cardinal expressed his “concern for children involved in the work of adults; for women whose labor rights are trampled upon; those who have been displaced or are unemployed and who aspire to live in equality and justice.”
Therefore, he added, “We invite all Colombians to celebrate May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and international labor day, by raising a white flag over homes, places of worship and all buildings, or by carrying a white handkerchief in labor day marches, as a clear sign of peaceful resistance to violence, kidnapping and injustice and as a symbol of our commitment to the promotion of peace.”
“On this day we pray as well that the Lord might look upon us with kindness and bless us with gift of Peace,” the Cardinal concluded.