Pope says don't work too hard
Pope Benedict XVI told members of Italian labour unions and Catholic workers' organisations that work is an "an important aspect of human existence" but they must not let their jobs take over their lives.
Catholic News Service reports that, anticipating yesterday's liturgical feast of St Joseph, the pope said on Sunday that work enables people to realise their potential and contribute to the good of society as long as their work is "undertaken in full respect for human dignity and the common good."
In order for work to serve the good of humanity, professional and technical preparation and a just social order are not enough, Pope Benedict said.
The pope said people need "a spirituality that helps believers sanctify themselves through their work, imitating St Joseph, who had to provide with his own hands each day for the needs of the Holy Family."
During the Mass, special prayers were offered that God would help all men and women work with respect for creation and for justice. Other prayers were offered for those who are abused or exploited in work and for those who have died because of work-related accidents and illnesses.
The pope asked St Joseph, patron saint of workers, to take special care of "young people who have difficulty entering the world of work, the unemployed and those who suffer from difficulties related to the widespread employment crisis."
In addition to the Sistine Chapel choir, the choir from St James Cathedral in Seattle provided music for the Mass.
Reciting the Angelus at noon with visitors in St Peter's Square, the pope continued his reflections on St Joseph. Using the saint as an example, the pope said every Catholic is called to "undertake with fidelity, simplicity and modesty the task which providence has assigned to us."
"I am thinking particularly of fathers and mothers of families, and I pray that they always will appreciate the beauty of a simple and industrious life, cultivate their conjugal relationship with care and fulfil with enthusiasm their great and not always easy mission to educate (their children)," he said.
Pope, celebrating Mass with workers, prays for jobless, exploited (Catholic News Service 20/3/06)
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21 Mar 2006