Sunday, September 1, 2013


Labor Day weekend is high holy days for Interfaith Worker Justice, my once and future ministry. The organization and its network of affiliated interfaith groups celebrates Labor Day at hundreds of congregations nationwide through its annual worship program, Labor in the Pulpits/on the Bimah/in the Minbar. Local IWJ groups coordinate with ministers to plan liturgies with themes on faith, work, and justice; bring workers to the congregations to speak about their struggles for dignity and their human needs; and invite people of faith to get involved in this religious movement for economic justice for all workers.

In the Greater Boston area, Mass. Interfaith Worker Justice extends Labor in the Pulpits into the fall. Your humble friar helped kick off our 2013 season of Labor in the Pulpits by speaking at the Masses celebrated this weekend at Immaculate Conception Parish in Everett. I spoke after communion about a campaign to raise the minimum wage and achieve sick days for low-wage workers. The people of the parish were welcoming, gracious, and most receptive to my appeal and call to action. It only stands to reason: Everett is very much a working-class city, and the parishioners understand the economic and moral reasons for treating workers fairly. It's a matter of common sense; it's a matter of faith. What a privilege it was to address them and to be nourished through them with the body and blood of Christ. I know they will serve, as Christ, their working neighbors as they serve one another. I hope to find many other Catholic communities like this in my travels with Mass IWJ this year.

Shortly, to meditation and evening prayer with the brothers. Perhaps some baking this evening as a kind of leisure. Tomorrow, a little more delayed gratification, as I postpone rest and continue Labor Day activities with Mass IWJ. Namely, we will join the janitors and security officers of SEIU Local 32BJ, District 615, in their annual Labor Day march for good jobs. Then, I'll have earned the right to veg out, gastronomically speaking, at our friars' cookout!

May the liberating God of Jesus, son of a carpenter, bless and protect all workers. May this gracious God bless all our labors and help us to make God's work our own on this earth. May we become co-workers in Christ, aided by all the saints, from Joseph of Nazareth to Dorothy Day.

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