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(LifeSiteNews) — This Sunday has been chosen by the Church for the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Family; the liturgy of the day, as expressed in the Gospel, harmonizes well with the mystery of the new Feast, for it already carries us forward to the childhood of our Emmanuel and gives us those wonderful words which, after the example of his Blessed Mother, we must ever ponder within our hearts: And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them.

The Feast of the Holy Family is of recent origin. In 1663 Barbara d’Hillehoust founded at Montreal the Association of the Holy Family; this devotion soon spread and in 1863 Leo XIII expressed his approval of a feast under this title and himself composed part of the Office. The Feast was welcomed by succeeding Pontiffs as an efficacious means for bringing home to the Christian people the example of the Holy Family at Nazareth, and by the restoration of the true spirit of family life, stemming, in some measure, the evils of present-day society. These motives led Benedict XV to insert the Feast in the universal Calendar, and from 1921 it has been fixed for this present Sunday.


The Introit recalls the joy that must have filled the cave of Bethlehem on that Christmas night; let us again rejoice with Mary and Joseph and sing the praises of the resting-place of the Lord of Hosts.


The father of the Just rejoiceth greatly, let thy father and thy mother be joyful, and let her rejoice that bore thee.

Ps. How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord.

℣. Glory be to the Father. The father of the just.

The Church prays in the Collect that the home life of every Christian family may be sanctified and perfected by the example of that of the Holy Family; this is her unceasing wish for her children.


O Lord Jesus Christ, who, becoming subject to Mary and Joseph, didst hallow home life by singular virtues: by the help of both do thou grant that we may be taught by the example of thy Holy Family, and have fellowship with it for evermore. Who livest.

Commemoration of the Sunday Within the Octave

According to thy divine mercy, O Lord, receive the vows of thy people, who pour forth their prayers to thee; that they may know what their duty requireth of them, and be able to comply with what they know. Through, etc.

Commemoration of the Epiphany

O God, who by the direction of a star, didst this day manifest thy only Son to the Gentiles: mercifully grant, that we, who now know thee by faith, may come at length to see the glory of thy majesty. Through the same, etc.


Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Colossians 3:12-17

Brethren: Put ye on, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection: And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in you5r hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

If we would attain to charity, the bond of perfection which unites all Christians together in the one great family of God, we must pay heed to those virtues which the Epistle puts before us. We must be full of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, and patience; we must bear with one another and forgive one another, after the example of the Incarnate Word. Then the peace of Christ will dwell not only in our hearts, but in those around us, and our homes will truly become like that of Nazareth, where Mary and Joseph were ever singing in grace to the Lord God.

In the Gradual, Holy Church again celebrates the praises of the House of the Lord; she proclaims the blessedness of those that obtain lasting fellowship in the heavenly home above; yet in the Alleluia-verse she recalls the lowliness of the earthly home of our Emmanuel which made him truly a hidden King.


One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

Ps. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord, they shall praise thee for ever and ever.

Alleluia. Alleluia.

℣. Verily Thou art a hidden King, the God of Israel, the Savior. Alleluia.


Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke 2:42-52

When Jesus was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day’ s journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.

Thus, O Jesus! didst thou come down from heaven to teach us. The tender age of Childhood, which thou didst take upon thyself is no hindrance to the ardor of thy desire that we should know the one only God who made all things, and thee, his Son, whom he sent to us. When laid in the Crib, thou didst instruct the Shepherds by a mere look; when swathed in thy humble swaddling-clothes, the subjected to the voluntary silence thou hadst imposed on thyself, thou didst reveal to the Magi the light they sought in following the Star. When twelve years old, thou explainest to the Doctors of Israel the Scriptures which bear testimony to thee. Thou gradually dispellest the shadows of the Law by thy presence and thy words. In order to fulfill the commands of thy heavenly Father, thou dost not hesitate to occasion sorrow to the heart of thy Mother, by thus going in quest of souls that need enlightening. Thy love of man will pierce that tender Heart of Mary with a still sharper sword, when she shall behold thee hanging on the Cross and expiring in the midst of cruelest pain. Blessed be thou, sweet Jesus, in these first Mysteries of thine Infancy, wherein thou already showest thyself devoted to us, and leaving the company of thy Blessed Mother for that of sinful men, who will one day conspire thy death.

The Offertory takes us in thought to the Feast of the Purification; let us again offer ourselves to the Lord.


The parents of Jesus carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.

In the Secret the Church again prays that she may be strengthened in peace and grace; these gifts have been purchased for us by our Lord himself; it is through the Holy Mass that we can be more strongly established in them.


We offer to thee, O Lord, an atoning victim, humbly entreating that through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God and blessed Joseph, thou wouldst strongly establish our families in thy peace and grace. Through the same Lord.

Commemoration of the Sunday

May the sacrifice we have offered to thee, O Lord, always enlighten and defend us. Through, &c.

Commemoration of the Epiphany

Mercifully look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, on the offerings of thy Church; among which, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, are no longer offered; but what was signified by those offerings is sacrificed, and received, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Who liveth, etc.


Jesus went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.

If we have kept before our eyes the example of the holy Family, we may humbly trust that at the hour of our death we shall be helped and consoled and be found worthy to have fellowship with Christ in the eternal dwellings. Such is the last prayer of the Church, and may it be the one we love to repeat and dwell on.


Make us, O Lord Jesus, whom Thou dost refresh with heavenly sacraments, ever to follow the example of thy Holy Family: that in the hour of our death, thy glorious Virgin thy Mother and blessed Joseph may come to our aid, and we may be found worthy to be received by thee into everlasting tabernacles. Who livest, etc.



1. After three days * they found Jesus in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions.

The Psalms are from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and will be found on the Feast of the Purification.

2. The Mother of Jesus * said to Him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

3. And Jesus went down * with them, and came to Nazareth: and was subject to them.

4. And Jesus * advanced in wisdom and age, and grace with God and men.

5. And they said: * How came this man by this wisdom and miracles? Is not this the carpenter’s son?


And Jesus went down with Mary and Joseph, and came to Nazareth: and was subject to them.


Blest light of all the heavenly hosts,
Sole hope of them that well on earth,
The purest love that ever graced
A home, did smile upon thy birth.
Mary, dear Mother, who but thee
Was ever yet so rich in grace?
Didst nourish Christ upon thy knee
And fold him in a sweet embrace?
And Joseph, chosen out to guard
The Virgin with thy gentle might,
The Infant Jesus smiled on thee
And called thee father as by right.
You, who to save a guilty race
Were born of David’s noble line
O hear the humble prayers of all
To-day, who gather round your shrine.
The sun now wrends his way to rest
And earth is veiled in shadows gray;
Yet hearts a-fire with joy and love
Still bid us linger on to pray.
O may the grace of that sweet home
Which held the earthly Trinity.
Be shed abroad upon the world
And bless the Christian family.
O Jesu, born of a Virgin bright,
Immortal glory be to thee;
Praise to the Father infinite
And Holy Ghost eternally.
℣. I will make all thy children to be taught of the Lord.
℟. And great the peace of thy children.


ANT. But Mary * kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

Collect as at Mass.

Commemoration of the Epiphany

ANT. The Magi, seeing the Start, said to each other: This is the sign of the great King: let us go and seek him, and offer him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. Alleluia.


ANT. We celebrate a festival adorned by three miracles: this day, a star led the Magi to the manger; this day, water was change into wine, at the marriage-feast; this day, Christ vouchsafed to be baptized by John, in the Jordan, for our salvation. Alleluia.

℣. The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents.

℟. The Kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts.

The Collect as earlier.

Commemoration of the Sunday

ANT. Son! why hast thou done so to us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. how is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?

℣. All they from Saba shall come. Alleluia.

℟. Bringing gold and frankincense. Alleluia.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who, becoming subject to Mary and Joseph, didst hallow home life by singular virtues: by the help of both do thou grant that we may be taught by the example of thy Holy Family, and have fellowship with it for evermore. Who livest…

This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875). LifeSiteNews is grateful to The Ecu-Men website for making this classic work easily available online.