Categories: General Date: Dec 27, 2015 Title: Feast of the Holy FamilyOn Sunday, December 27th, the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family. The Church has chosen the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas as the Feast of the Holy Family. Concerned by the general breakdown of the family at the end of the 19th century, Pope Leo XIII instituted this Feast in 1893. It was originally celebrated on the Sunday within the Octave of Epiphany but the date was changed in the calendar which was promulgated in 1969.
Scripture reveals very little about the early years of the child Jesus. There is an escape to and sojourn in Egypt, a return to Nazareth and one memorable trip to Jerusalem during which the boy Jesus becomes separated from his parents. It can only be assumed that the Holy Family was an ordinary family. The primary purpose of the Church in establishing this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families. The Mass and Office of the Feast of the Holy Family give Christian parents an opportunity to pray that their family life may be sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
As it was explained in Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church which was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1962,
“The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state.”