Family Sunday

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Two days past Christmas and all through the house, all were stirring except for the mouse.

My husband still doesn’t understand that the Saturday night Mass and the Sunday morning Masses are the same Mass, the same obligation, and therefore I only need to attend one. I went last night, but he’s still wondering why I haven’t gone yet today. It’s long after two in the afternoon, and about halfway through listening to one of my new CDs, I was kind of hit with the beauty of what we, as a family, were all doing and that today is the Feast of the Holy Family.

Since the Second Vatican Council, the Feast of the Holy Family occurs the Sunday after Christmas or if that Sunday falls after January 1st, the Holy Family is celebrated on December 30th. This really is a big week on the Catholic calendar; a big month really, beginning with the start of the new liturgical year and Advent, going right into the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and now the Nativity, the Holy Family, and Friday brings the Solemnity of Mary, another holy day of obligation, followed soonafter by Epiphany or Three Kings Day and the Lord’s Baptism.

The calendar can feel a bit out of order sometimes. We go from the Nativity in December, the joys of a baby’s birth, and not even six months later we are observing Good Friday, a grown man’s death, murder by crucifixion and Easter, the Resurrection. I used to think, growing up that Good Friday and Easter celebrated the same day – the crucifixion. Now, I do understand the difference, and how the different days are observed: one a day of utmost sadness and one of incredible joy.

Veneration of the Holy Family was begun in the 17th century in what was known as New France by the bishop, Saint Francois de Laval. The Feast of the Holy Family, as it is known now, was instituted as a holy day and on the Catholic calendar by Pope Leo XIII in 1893. It was to be held in January and appeared on the calendar during the Octave of the Epiphany until 1969 when things changed under Vatican II.

Our family has spent today enjoying our gifts from Christmas as well as each other’s company in relative peace. My two youngest kids are showing my husband how to play Minecraft on his new tablet; the three of them are lying on the other side of the bed chattering and pointing and blowing things up to help build his world. My oldest son slept, happy not to be bothered by the usual requests of his prescence by his family for such mundanities as food and company. He is off at work at this moment and I believe he did journey out for a fire call with his station. My part in the family’s peace is to pop in my headphones and listen to my two new CDs; new ones from Adele and Mumford and Sons. I transferred them to my kindle, snuggled under my covers with my sore knee up, disappeared under the darkness of my eye mask and enjoyed the music, all the while thinking how lovely the day’s been.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Holy Family than to enjoy my own.

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