Feast of the Holy Family

Feast day of the Holy Family - December 31

The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The feast is celebrated on the Sunday below the Christmas octave, or if there is no Sunday below the Christmas octave, on December 30.

Today we do not celebrate any particular mystery in the life of Jesus, but we commemorate – still in the light of Christmas – the childhood of the Incarnate Redeemer, which He spent in secret with Saints Mary and Joseph in the Holy Family at Nazareth.

While there are also major holidays dedicated to each member of the Holy Family - Jesus, Mary and Joseph - the Feast of the Holy Family commemorates their lives together, and the celebration focuses on religious family life. Because of the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt, the Copts traditionally celebrate a feast for the Holy Family. However, a cult of veneration of the Holy Family as a group, rather than as individuals, did not emerge in Western Christianity until the 17th century, and was not officially recognized until the holiday was formally established in 1921 under Pope Benedict XV. Originally celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany (January 6), the Feast of the Holy Family was moved to the Sunday after Christmas in 1969, making it fall within the Christmas season.

Prayer to the Holy Family

Sweet Jesus, You were born in a stable to become divine light in a dark, sinful world. Your little holy family was full of love, grace, kindness, and generosity. I ask Mary and Joseph to pray for my family to grow in the virtues that spring from unconditional love. I also ask them to pray for the growth of our faith. O Savior, increase our unity and give us a shared devotion to Your Holy Family. Purify me and teach me to identify my sins and change my ways so that Your light increases within me. Show me how to let Your light shine so brightly that my family sees You and is transformed by Your presence. Holy Family, pray for us.