May 1: St Joseph the Worker, Class I

Georges de la Tour, 1640s
Feasts of St Joseph have had a rather tumultuous history over the last two centuries. 

Traditionally in the West at least, March 19 was Saint Joseph's Day. 

But in 1870 Pope Pius IX declared St Joseph patron of the universal Church and instituted another feast, with an octave, to be held on Wednesday in the second week after Easter.

This was abolished, however, by Pope Pius XII in 1955, when he established the Feast of "St. Joseph the Worker", to be celebrated on 1 May, in order to displace socialist celebrations on that date, a feast that is perhaps arguably looking somewhat outdated today. 

In the Novus Ordo calendar, it is an optional memorial only, and so not celebrated this year being displaced by Low Sunday; but in the 1962 calendar, it remains a solemnity.  Oh well, great saints deserve lots of festivities!

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