March Challenge: Supporting the Dignity of Work

What: Build up the Dignity of Work


We often think of May as a month dedicated to workers with May 1st as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. But, did you know that March is dedicated to St. Joseph with his traditional feast day celebrated on March 19th?

St. Joseph is known as the patron saint of the Universal Church, a happy death, families, fathers, expectant mothers, explorers, pilgrims, travelers, immigrants, home sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people.

St. Joseph is a prime example of the innate dignity that exists in work. Work was not beneath him nor was it something to be lorded over him. As a carpenter we know he worked to provide for his family and therefore directly in service to our Lord. This should always be the aim of our work and in doing so we will build up a Civilization of Love.


As the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: 

Unemployment almost always wounds its victim's dignity and threatens the equilibrium of life. Besides the harm done personally, it entails many risks for the family.

2428 In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work.

Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.

2429 Everyone has the right of economic initiative; everyone should make legitimate use of his talents to contribute to the abundance that will benefit all and to harvest the just fruits of his labor. He should seek to observe regulations issued by legitimate authority for the sake of the common good.215

2432 Those responsible for business enterprises are responsible to society for the economic and ecological effects of their operations.218 They have an obligation to consider the good of persons and not only the increase of profits. Profits are necessary, however. They make possible the investments that ensure the future of a business and they guarantee employment.

2433 Access to employment and to professions must be open to all without unjust discrimination: men and women, healthy and disabled, natives and immigrants.219 For its part society should, according to circumstances, help citizens find work and employment.220

2434 A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice.221 In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. "Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good."222 Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages.


The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, decent and fair wages, the organization and joining of unions, private property, and to economic initiative. - USCCB on The Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers


Pick your CHALLENGE:


  • Get to know St. Joseph
    • Consecrate yourself to the foster father of our Lord. You can begin the 33-day consecration to St. Joseph on March 30th and complete your consecration on May 1st the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
    • Pray the Litany of St. Joseph daily reflecting on how his many titles show us how we too can serve the Lord through our varied work.


  • Provide work for someone who is unemployed or underemployed:
    • Do you run a business or an organization? Consider how you may be able to bring on one additional full or part-time employee.
    • Do you have projects that you need help with around your home? Consider how you could offer to hire someone to help you complete a needed task.

For Employers:

  • Are you providing dignified work to your employees? 
  • Are you providing good goods and good services to your customers and clients?
  • Examine your workplace policies and consider any adjustments that could make work more conducive to your employees' ability to provide for the needs of their families and community.
    • Can you increase wages?
    • Can you provide more flexible time off?
    • Is remote or hybrid work a possibility?  
  • Examine how your profits are being put to use.
    • How do your employees, the community, and those in need benefit when your business does well?

For Employees:

  • Are you providing good goods and good services to your customers and clients?
  • Examine how you can be more effective in your role to better serve your family and the common good.
  • Are you making good use of your time at work, honoring the wage you are receiving and not spending too much time on things like social media or personal texts?
  • Are you being a good team member, recognizing that there is a common mission that requires all to fulfill their role?
  • Are you spending too much time at work to the detriment of your family or the community?

For Everyone:

  • Join the St. Joseph Business Guild and learn how you can build a civilization of love by promoting the dignity of work.
    • Get two friends or co-workers to join the St. Joseph Business Guild.
  • Gather friends, neighbors, or fellow co-workers and volunteer your skills to those in need.
  • Provide mentorship, an apprenticeship, or other training for someone who is looking to step into a new career field.
  • Offer to be a reference for someone who is searching for employment.
  • Host a job fair at your parish.
  • Create a work exchange board at your parish where people can post help wanted and conversely post skills on offer.

Set your GOAL: 

Depending on your challenge, you will want to set yourself a goal - whether it be material, financial, or spiritual. Some examples include:

  • Start a small group at your parish for the consecration to St. Joseph.
  • Spend 5 minutes daily in prayer using the Litany of St. Joseph to ask the Lord for guidance in your work.
  • Hire someone for three days' wages to help you with a task.
  • Provide your employees with an extra day off or a financial bonus.
  • Make use of unused PTO to provide for the needs of your family or the community.
  • With your co-workers, put in 25 hours of volunteer work for community members in need.
  • Gather 10 employers from your parish and/or surrounding parishes to come together for a job fair.

Determine your AUDIENCE:

Who do you want to join you in your monthly challenge? 

  • Just yourself! 
  • Your family and friends
  • Your parish
  • Your social media friends
  • Or whomever you want! 


Once you know what you are going to do, click "Share" to tell us your idea! We encourage you to upload a picture of how you're building a civilization of love to help inspire others to take action too!

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