A recent study found that Catholic Social Teaching on the Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers was the single “most overlooked” element in Catholic Social Teaching today. Labor Day weekend offers a great opportunity to share this aspect of our faith with our brothers and sisters in the Church.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website offers numerous online resources for this purpose on its Labor Day Resources page. The page includes liturgical resources such as sample prayers of the faithful focused on worker justice, a bulletin insert with quotations from Catholic Social Teaching and templates for guided activities after Mass to introduce the unfamiliar with what our Church has to say about labor and work.

The USCCB has also released its annual Labor Day statement reflecting on the condition of work and workers. Presented by Archbishop Paul Coakley, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, this year’s statement pays special attention to the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act, a cause that has brought together labor, the Church, and many other constituencies this year as it awaits a vote in the Senate. Archbishop Coakley also notes the role of labor unions in protecting workers from disruption during the pandemic and recalls the legacy of Monsignor George Higgins, the leading labor priest of his era who passed away 20 years ago this year.

And in preparing for Labor Day, a special shout-out is in order for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Maryland Catholic Labor Network. Bishop Bruce Lewandowski and the MD CLN recently co-hosted twenty Baltimore-area priests and deacons in a special luncheon and gathering to prepare for Labor Day. Participants reviewed Catholic Social Teaching on labor and work, heard local workers talk about contemporary challenges to worker justice and dignity, listened to a rousing address from area labor priest Fr. Brian Jordan OFM (pictured), and broke into small groups to discuss plans for their Labor Day liturgies and homilies.

Labor Day only comes once a year – let’s make the most of it to share the Good News!