The Feast of the Holy Family: Church Planting 101

Holy Family Icon

A dedication to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

The Feast of the Holy Family is a devotion-feast or an idea-feast — it does not commemorate a specific event but rather promotes the Holy Family as a model for all family life. The feast is ordinarily celebrated on the Sunday between Christmas Day and January 1, during the Octave of Christmas, providing another opportunity to remember the Incarnation of Christ and his sharing in a human family.

Families are called to be a “domestic church” on mission in the world. The Holy Family is a model of the domestic church, where Jesus is always present and at the center of all that happens. Before this can happen in our families today, it must first happen in our hearts. During Christmas, we must allow Jesus to be planted in the now-fertile soil of our interior lives that we tilled during our Advent preparations. From the transformation of our hearts, we can transform our families. From there, we can begin to transform our communities with the example of our lives, just as St. Paul did. That’s Church Planting 101.

During his December 28, 2011 general audience, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated that during the Christmas season we are called to reflect on the place of prayer in the life of the Holy Family of Nazareth. He said,

“The Holy Family is the icon of the domestic church called to pray together. The family is the domestic church and must be the first school of prayer. If one does not learn to pray in the family, it will be difficult to fill this void, so I want to invite you to rediscover the beauty of praying together as a family in the school of the Holy Family of Nazareth and, in that way, to become truly one heart and one soul, a true family.”

Prayer to the Holy Family

O Jesus, look graciously upon our family here before you. Once more we consecrate ourselves before you—our trials and joys—that our home may ever be the shrine of peace, purity, love, and faith. Protect and bless all of us, both absent and present, and be merciful to those departed.
O Mary, loving mother of Jesus, and our Mother, pray to Jesus for our family, for all the families of the world, to guard the cradle of the newborn, the schools of the young, and their vocations.
O Joseph, holy Guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by your prayers in all the necessities of life. Be present at the pillow of the sick and dying so that we may all be united to Jesus and Mary and you for all eternity.
Amen.

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