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31th December – Feast of the Holy Family

The Holy Family is the name given to the family formed of Jesus of Nazareth and his parents, Mary and Joseph. The Catholic Church cites it as an example by for all Catholic families. “So the shepherds went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.” (Lk. 2:16).

The liturgical feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas or, if Christmas falls on a Sunday, on 30th December.

It is a feast that aims to show the Holy Family of Nazareth as “the true model of life” (Collect) from which our families can draw inspiration and where they can find help and comfort.

“Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet.” (Mt. 2:13-15).

A family on the move

Like the Holy Family, we are all invited to set out to protect our faith in Jesus who, at Christmas, came to us as a tiny baby.
Lourdes can be that place for every family. A place of healing.

Prayer

The hidden life of Nazareth
allows every human being
to be in communion with Jesus
in the most ordinary gestures of daily life:
Nazareth is the school
where we begin to understand
the life of Jesus:
that is to say, the school of the Gospel…
First, it teaches us silence.
If only we could once again appreciate its great value.
We need this wonderful state of mind.
It teaches us how to live as a family.
Nazareth teaches us what family is;
a community of love,
its basic and simple beauty,
its holy and enduring character…
Finally, we learn about work.
May we properly respect the home of Nazareth,
house of the “carpenter’s son”!
Here, we first learn about
and celebrate the value – demanding
but redeeming – of human endeavour…
Finally, may we express our deep regard for people everywhere
who work for a living
And point out to them their great model,
Christ, their divine brother.
(Saint Paul VI, speech of 5th January 1964 in Nazareth)

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