112. The feast of the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Sunday in the Christmas octave) is a festive occasion particularly suitable for the celebration of rites or moments of prayer proper to the Christian family. The recollection of Joseph, Mary and Jesus’ going up to Jerusalem, together with other observant Jewish families, for the celebration of the Passover (cf. Lk 2, 41-42), should normally encourage a positive acceptance of the pastoral suggestion that all members of the family attend Mass on this day.
It would be the wish of every serious liturgist and pastor that the Sunday after Christmas be attended by the same throngs of families who cam on Christmas Eve and Day. Sadly, we know this is rarely the case.
This feast day also affords an opportunity for the renewal of our entrustment to the patronage of the Holy Family of Nazareth (Cf. Actus consecrationis familiarum, in EI, Aliae concessiones, 1, p. 50); the blessing of children as provided in the ritual (Cf Book of Blessings 174-194); and where opportune, for the renewal of marriage vows taken by the spouses on their wedding day, and also for the exchange of promises between those engaged to be married in which they formalize their desire to found a new Christian family (Cf. ibid., Ordo benedictionis desponsatorum, 195-204).
My parish observes a monthly blessings for couples celebrating an anniversary. Our December blessing is always done on Holy Family Sunday. How many engaged couples seek this blessing mentioned above? Many young people make a promise on Christmas. Where is the Catholic culture strong enough to suggest such a blessing long before a wedding day?
Outside of the feast, the faithful have frequent recourse to the Holy Family of Nazareth in many of life’s circumstances: joining the Association of the Holy Family so as to model their own families on the Holy Family of Nazareth (Erected by Leo XIII through the Apostolic Letter Neminem fugit (14 June 1892) in Leonis XIII Pontificis Maximi Acta, XII, Typographia Vaticana, Romae 1893, pp. 149-158: confirmed by John Paul II with the decree of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (25 November 1987)); frequent prayers to entrust themselves to the patronage of the Holy Family and to obtain assistance at the hour of death(Cf. EI, Piae invocationes, p. 83).
Are people aware of this association?
The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.