“…in the midst of this suffering and distress, God is ‘doing something new.’”

Labor Day initiates the month of September, and for many, marks the conclusion of the three-month summer season. Usually a time to get away or take a break from the routine of life; this year, the summer months have been punctuated with anxiety over the impact of the ongoing pandemic, racial unrest and the polarization of our country over the upcoming election.

Released on Sept. 2, the USCCB’s Labor Day 2020 statement looks toward the future and reflects on rebuilding a dignified post-COVID world. Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development writes:

“This Labor Day is a somber one. The COVID-19 pandemic goes on. Economic circumstances for so many families are stressful or even dire. Anxiety is high. Millions are out of work and wondering how they will pay the bills. And for workers deemed ‘essential’ who continue to work outside the home, there is the heightened danger of exposure to the virus.”

Yet, drawing on a new book of reflections on the pandemic by Pope Francis, Archbishop Coakley focused on the messages of the prophet Isaiah and the book of Revelation, that in the midst of this suffering and distress, God is “doing something new.” As Archbishop Coakley relays, “[t]he good news is that injustice does not need to have the last word. The Lord came to free us from sin, including the sins by which we diminish workers and ourselves.”

Read the full statement: (English | Español)

Five ways to make prayer part of your Labor Day weekend:

  • Take a few minutes, morning and evening, to give thanks to God for a restful night’s sleep. Seek his blessings throughout the day and thank God in the evening for all that’s taken place that day. Make an examination of conscience and look for areas where you can improve.
  • Pray at meals, or while driving in the car
  • Try praying the rosary as a family, or practice another type of devotion.
  • If you are well and healthy and feel safe in doing so, attend Mass, or watch Mass online or on TV.
  • Spend time in Adoration

Additional resources

Profit over safety, especially in pandemic, ‘unjust,’ says Labor Day statement (Catholic News Service, Sept. 2)
Labor & Employment (foundational documents, advocacy, annual Labor Day statements)
Prayer for Labor Day (A/D of Detroit)