December 31st – Feast of the Holy Family

My Dear Friends:

Happy Feast of the Holy Family! We pray you had a beautiful Christmas last week. Our Masses were overflowing as friends, young and old, came to our beautiful church to pay homage to the Newborn King. I must thank everyone who made Christmas Eve and Christmas Day such a great success, starting with those who decorated our church to make it look so beautiful to our amazing choir(s) and all the liturgical ministers who helped on such a busy weekend. Your priests are naturally tired but overjoyed from seeing so many people. On behalf of all the priests who serve here, we also want to thank all the parishioners who brought us gifts or food to the rectory over the last two weeks. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity. And as your pastor, I want to thank all of you who made such generous Christmas offerings last week and for all those who during the last few weeks made pledges to our Centennial Campaign. We are indeed blessed as a parish! 

On this day dedicated to the Holy Family, I wanted to share with you a reflection from Pope St. John Paul II that he offered on the family on this exact date 23 years ago during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000: 

In an atmosphere of Christmas joy, today we are celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family. This year it falls on 31 December, the last day of the year. Is it not providential that the Year 2000, the year that seals a millennium, should end in the sign of the family? 

We turn our gaze from the crib to the humble dwelling of Nazareth. Having become our brother, Jesus wanted to experience family life. Thus he became part of the first, fundamental cell of society, in this way giving perennially valid recognition to the most common of human institutions. 

For us believers, the family, a reflection of Trinitarian communion, finds its model in the family of Nazareth, where the human history of the Redeemer and his parents unfolded. We think of the difficulties Mary and Joseph had to face at Jesus’ birth and then during their exile in Egypt to escape Herod’s persecution. Nazareth has also become the symbol of that “normality” of daily life which marks every family’s existence. 

Looking today at that Holy House, our thoughts turn to the many families of our time who are in difficult situations. Some of them suffer from extreme poverty; others are forced to seek in foreign countries what they unfortunately lack in their homeland; still others find within their own families serious problems caused by the rapid cultural and social changes which at times overwhelm them. And what can be said of the many attacks on the family institution itself? All this shows how urgent it is to rediscover the value of the family and to help it in every way to be, as God wanted it, the vital environment where every child who comes into the world is welcomed with tenderness and gratitude from the moment of his conception; a place marked by a serene atmosphere that encourages the harmonious human and spiritual development of all its members. 

May the Holy Family, whom we venerate today, obtain this gift for every family and help them to be a little “domestic church”, a school of human and religious virtues… 

As this year draws to a close, let us invoke the Lord’s forgiveness for the shortcomings that have marked our personal and community life. Only in this way can our thanksgiving for the many benefits we have received be true and sincere. 

As we begin a new year, I pray God shower you and all our families with abundant blessings and graces in 2024.

Happy New Year!

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