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 CNS Story:

ADLIMINA-WORKERS May-1-2012 (380 words) With photos. xxxi

US bishops offer prayers for workers, families on May 1 holiday

Carmelite Brother Simon Mary Maroney from the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo., prepares to receive Communion during a Mass concelebrated by bishops from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome May 1. Brother Maroney, a contemplative monk, was part of the delegation from the Diocese of Cheyenne. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) -- A group of U.S. bishops began their "ad limina" visits to Rome praying for workers and for families.

The bishops of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming concelebrated Mass in the Basilica of St. Mary Major May 1, marking the beginning of the month traditionally devoted to Mary, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and the Worker's Day public holiday in Italy and many other countries.

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M., the main celebrant and homilist at the Mass, said that on the holiday, "our thoughts turn to workers everywhere. We should pray for workers today, especially those who are having a difficult time in their job, for those who are not paid a just wage or a living wage, for those single moms who try to raise their children" by working both outside and inside the home.

The bishop also prayed for those who work "in sweatshops, who are paid just a pittance, who may be working standing, maybe for 18 hours a day."

In many parts of the world, he said, it is a terrible time when "people work so hard for so little and they suffer so many injustices. So we pray for them and their families."

Focusing first on Mary and Joseph, Bishop Ramirez praised their role as parents "who welcomed Jesus into the world and taught him good manners and taught him how to be a good Jewish boy."

The bishop said the virtue he admired most in Mary and Joseph is meekness.

"Meekness is not a weakness," he said. Rather, "it connotes strength and courage because it has to do with surrendering to the will of God."

Bishop Ramirez said he's sure there never has been a household as peaceful as the Holy Family's because "there is a serenity connected to surrendering to God's will."

The 10 bishops at the Mass were the 13th group of U.S. bishops to come to Rome since November to make their "ad limina" visits, which the heads of dioceses are required to make periodically to report on the status of their dioceses. The visits include celebrating Mass at St. Peter's and the major basilicas of Rome, meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and holding discussions with officials from Vatican congregations and councils.


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