In a statement commemorating the celebration of Labor Day 2013, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge has called on Catholics in the Diocese of Raleigh to join him in praying for all in our nation who face the daily, stressful struggles of unemployment or underemployment.
Calling to mind Pope Emeritus Benedict’s 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, Bishop Burbidge said the Holy Father “affirmed Catholic teaching on the importance of work to the whole human experience.” Bishop Burbidge pointed out that, “Working together, business, labor and government must unite to build a productive economy that will create quality jobs and provide just compensation.”
Labor Day Statement
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge
September 2, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As our nation celebrates Labor Day, I respectfully ask that you join me in praying for the many in our country who struggle daily as a result of unemployment, under-employment, unjust wages, and exploitation in the work place. Since 2007, many in our nation have suffered tremendous hardship. While news reports note a modest economic recovery, millions of our brothers and sisters remain unemployed. Government statistics indicate more than four million people have been without work for more than six months with millions of others having given up hope.
It may surprise many to learn that the federal poverty level for a household of four people is $23,550. Half the jobs in this country pay less than $27,000 per year. It’s estimated that 16 million children live in poverty. As the poverty level in the United States continues to climb, the gap between the affluent and poor continues to widen. Working together, business, labor and government must unite to build a productive economy that will create quality jobs and provide just compensation that enables workers to live with dignity and fosters the stability of family life.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis reminded us that “work is fundamental to the dignity of a person.” His words echo the encyclical of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2009, Caritas in Veritate, in which the Holy Father affirmed Catholic teaching on the importance of work to the whole human experience. Pope Benedict noted that through work we become “co-creators” with God in this world and how through the collaboration with each other we are called to make the workplace a project of human solidarity and mutual respect.
On this Labor Day, let us remember those without work and those under-employed. Let us ask for Our Lord’s help for them and for all workers. We also call upon Our Lord’s assistance to help each of us live out the call of the Gospel to promote the dignity of human life and to generously serve others, especially the poor and those most in need.
May Mary Mother of the Church and Saint Joseph the Worker watch over you and guide you on this Labor Day and always.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Raleigh