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Feast of the Holy Family

Origins of the Feast of the Holy Family:

The Feast of the Holy Family developed at the beginning of the 19th century in Canada and then spread to the entire Church in 1920. The main purpose of the Feast of the Holy Family is to serve as a model for all Christian families, and for domestic life in general.  It is a Feast that seeks to portray the Holy Family of Nazareth as the “true model of life”  from which our families can draw inspiration. Certainly Joseph and Mary are role models for how families should be structured.

As we live the life of the Church within our homes, it is called the “domestic church”.

Most would agree that families are under attack today.  The rise of fatherless homes, homosexual “marriage”, pornography, abortion, contraception (even among Catholics….and yes, it is a sin)  have taken their toll over the past several decades.  Cardinal Carlo Carrara, as he was working to found the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Rome, mentioned that Sister Lucy, one of the Fatima visionaries,  confided to him that “the decisive battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be over marriage and the family”.

How can we live out the domestic Church in our own family? In today’s world, that is certainly a challenge. The best way is by making Christ the center of our family and individual life. A few ways to do this include scripture reading regularly, prayers daily, attending Mass at least on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, imitating the actions of the Holy Family, and going to confession frequently, all done together as a family unit.

Celebration of the Feast of the Holy Family:

At first, the Feast of the Holy Family was celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany, but now the Church celebrates this Feast on the Sunday occurring between the Nativity of the Lord (December 25th) and Mary, Mother of God (January 1st).

It is a moveable feast since, in those years where Christmas falls on a Sunday, it is celebrated on December 30th.