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MERCYSTORIES

SHARING WORKS OF MERCY

5 Ways to Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family

by MercyWorks Team on December 21, 2023

 

The end of the year comes with many celebrations — Christmas parties spent with friends and loved ones, gifts exchanged among families, and confetti marking the entrance into the New Year. As the world celebrates in the final weeks of the calendar year, the Church’s liturgical calendar is also jam-packed with special feast days honoring many great figures of our faith.

Among Christmas, the Church celebrates a number of sacred feasts in December including Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. John the Apostle. Amid the month-long myriad of celebrations and feasts, a particularly unique day stands out—the Feast of the Holy Family.

Who is the Holy Family and Why Do We Celebrate Their Feast Day? 

The Holy Family refers to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Jesus, the Son of God, was born of the Virgin Mary and raised by St. Joseph, his foster father on Earth. Serving as the perfect model of a Christian family, the Holy Family offers us the example of how we should cultivate our own "domestic church" within our own homes.

Although two of the three members were free from sin, there are many similarities between the Holy Family and our own. They ate together, laughed together, traveled together, and experienced hardships together including poverty, exile, and persecution. 

Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family to honor and reflect upon the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This special feast provides an opportunity to draw inspiration from their virtue and ask for their intercession to model our own homes after their example.

“Let us look to the Holy Family of Nazareth as an example for all Christian and human families. It radiates genuine love and charity, not only creating an eloquent example for all families, but also offering the guarantee that such love can be achieved in every family unit.” - St. Pope John Paul II 

When is the Feast of the Holy Family?

During Christmas Octave, the Church takes a moment to honor the central figures in the Christmas narrative: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Traditionally observed on the first Sunday following Christmas, the Feast of the Holy Family holds great significance for many families in the Catholic Church. Let's explore five ways you and your family can celebrate this feast during the upcoming year.

 

5 Creative Ways to Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family 

1. Cook and Share a Special Meal Together

Many events—especially those in Scripture— are centered around a good meal. Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family by cooking up a special dinner with your loved ones. Whether it's a cherished family recipe or a special dish reserved for certain occasions, gather around the kitchen and prepare it together. Share the joy of cooking and savor the results as you spend quality time around the dinner table.

Family cooking dinner together.

2. Go to Mass as a Family 

Attending Mass together is a great way to strengthen your familial bonds. Joining together in the Mass creates a deeper connection as you all collectively partake in the Eucharist. Following Mass, consider preparing a brunch as a family or partaking in post-Mass donuts and coffee with other families in your community. 

3. Pray a Family Rosary

Honor the Holy Family by gathering for a family rosary on their feast. Create a prayerful environment by lighting candles and illuminating your Christmas tree (remember — don’t put those away until the Feast of the Epiphany!). Dedicate a moment for prayer, with family members taking turns leading decades. Conclude your prayer time with a special Holy Family prayer, such as this one:

“We bless your name, O Lord,
for sending your own incarnate Son,
to become part of a family,
so that, as he lived its life,
he would experience its worries and its joys.

We ask  you, Lord,
to protect and watch over this family,
so that in the strength of your grace
its members may enjoy prosperity,
possess the priceless gift of your peace,
and, as the Church alive in the home,
bear witness in this world to your glory.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.” - Prayer For Families, USCCB

4. Participate in Acts of Service

In addition to love, the Holy Family stands as a perfect example of selfless service. Our Lady's perfect obedience to the Lord, St. Joseph's selfless leadership of the divine household, and Christ, the ultimate servant, collectively dedicated their lives to serving others and God.

Individuals volunteering at food pantry]

As a family, take the opportunity to serve and give back to your local community. Volunteer at a nearby shelter, contribute to serving dinners at your church, or assist in sorting donations at a local food pantry. Engage in acts of service to support and uplift your neighbors in need.

5. Brainstorm Spiritual New Year’s Resolutions

As the feast falls at the close of the year, set aside a moment to think of spiritual resolutions for the upcoming year. Brainstorm ways in which you can foster spiritual growth as a family in the new year. Consider establishing a weekly rosary night, committing to a specific saint novena, or incorporating a weekly attendance at a daily Mass. Write these resolutions down and display them in a visible area to serve as a constant reminder of your family's commitment to spiritual growth.

 

Foster Your Domestic Church This Feast

As we celebrate the perfect model of the Christian family this year, let this sacred feast day inspire us to cultivate a family life that honors and serves God. In exploring the various ways to celebrate this day, take a moment to reflect on the example set by the Holy Family and consider how we can model their virtues within our own families. 


To foster holiness in your household, explore our prayer resources designed for family participation this year. May God bless you and your family in the New Year, guiding you to greater heights of holiness in the months to come.

Explore Prayer Resources

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