No introductory note in the Missal for this Mass. Most of the Masses we’ve examined in this series have clear times for celebration: anniversaries, new bishop or pope, etc.. When might a Mass for the Family be celebrated? If a faith formation effort in a parish was inclined to include parents, it would seem important to pray for “practicing the virtues of family life” and to appeal to the Lord to “establish our families in your grace and your peace” and that families “imitate constantly the example of the Holy Family.”
The Holy Family is a high ideal–not one that many earthly families see as an attainable aspiration. Suggested readings in the 1998 Lectionary are for that feast. There are probably better options. Let’s look at the antiphons:
Entrance Antiphon Eph 6: 2-3
Honor your father and mother.
This is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.
Psalm 128 seems a no-brainer, but if that is the psalm following the first reading, maybe it’s better to look elsewhere. There’s a bit of misogyny in much of Sirach–approach with caution. Especially if the ancient family sensibilities of the third and twenty-sixth chapters are a bit tough to swallow.
The Sunday Lectionary offers some poetic options, so maybe these for the Entrance or Communion offerings here: Sirach 3:3-7, 14-17 or Colossians 3:12-21 (caution: these two are readings for Holy family, cycle A) or Psalm 84 or 1 John 3:18-24.
Communion Antiphon Is 49: 15
Can a mother forget her infant?
Even should she forget, I will never forget you, says the Lord.
This morsel is part of a larger periscope, a hymn for the restoration of Zion. Sound familiar? Dan Schutte and Carey Landry, for starters. I might suggest setting verses 8 through 16 for a psalmist.
Some years ago, we blogged on Masses And Prayers For Various Needs And Occasions. In the GIRM, sections 368-378 cover the universal regulations on their use. You can check our brief comments here and here and here. The USCCB’s unannotated text on the matter is here.