The Feast of The Holy Family

The feast of The Holy Family is a day in which we focus on Jesus, Mary and Joseph and always falls after the feast of Christmas on the last Sunday in December. The feast calls us to contemplate the family through prayer and reflection of the Scriptures. We keep in our prayer the vocation to marriage and family life, couples who are discerning marriage, those who have recently married, those celebrating special anniversaries and all the joys of family life.

Soon after the birth of Christ, The Holy Family left Bethlehem and fled to Egypt for safety, this is not too dissimilar 2000 or so years later, as we see families displaced from their homes and towns, fleeing to protect their families from danger. Pope Francis in his Christmas Eve Homily in 2017 reflected on this as he said:

“So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary. We see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away, but driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones. In many cases this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future; yet for many others this departure can only have one name: survival. Surviving the Herods of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.

The faith we proclaim tonight makes us see that God is present in all those situations where we think he is absent. He is present in the unwelcomed visitor, often unrecognizable, who walks through our cities and our neighbourhoods, who travels on our buses and knocks on our doors.”

We include in our resources today a prayer reflection for those families who have been displaced from their homes like The Holy Family and continue to strive for a better way of life.

This year we have been able to reconnect with our families in special ways, many people were able to attend weddings and special anniversaries and enjoy moments of the family reuniting together. As we spend Christmas with our families, let us pray in celebration for this great gift and for blessed conversation. It’s a time to remember family members who have passed on as we contemplate their influence on our lives. We also pray for those families who cannot be together or who struggle at this time, that through the healing power of God there can be peace and unity. As we journey with The Holy Family to the stable and beyond, we hold in our hearts the importance of whatever God’s will is for our families and we will always be open to hear his call, just like Joseph and Mary.

Resources

Bishop David Oakley (Family and Marriage) Pastoral Letter
Family Prayer for the Feast Day Lunch
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Prayer
Jesus, Mary and Joseph had to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt after the birth of Jesus in order to reach a place of safety. We place here a prayer for all families who are fleeing their own homes and countries to find safety.
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Children's Activity Sheet
Perfect for a Children's Liturgy
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Video Resources for the Feast Day​​