Holy Family

The Holy Family consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph. Veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 17th century by Saint François de Laval, the first bishop of New France, who founded a Confraternity.

The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus, his mother, and his legal father, Saint Joseph, as a family. The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families.[1]

The Feast is held on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day; If both are Sundays, the feast is celebrated on December 30th.

The Holy Family - Rafael
The Holy Family, by Raphael
Polidoro da Lanciano Holy Family with Angel
Polidoro da Lanciano (1515-1565), Holy Family with an Angel, c. 1540. (Private collection)


Holy Family 2
Holy card depicting the Holy Family, in French. University of Dayton Libraries.

The Gospels speak little of the life of the Holy Family in the years before Jesus’ public ministry.,[2]

Matthew and Luke narrate the episodes from this period of Christ's life, namely his circumcision and later Presentation, the flight to Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the Finding in the Temple.[1] Joseph and Mary were apparently observant Jews, as Luke narrates that they brought Jesus with them on the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem with other Jewish families.


The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family. The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families.[1] Since the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar, the feast is celebrated on the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, that is, the Sunday between Christmas Day and New Year's Day (both exclusive), or if both Christmas Day and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God are Sundays, on 30 December (always a Friday in such years). It is a holy day of obligation only if it falls on a Sunday (as is any Sunday).[3]

The feast was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1893 and set on the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany; that is to say, on the Sunday between January 7 through January 13, all inclusive (see General Roman Calendar of 1960). The 1962 Roman Missal, whose use is still authorized, follows the General Roman Calendar of 1960, which has the celebration on that date.

Cultural references

In art

The Holy Family is a popular theme in Christian art. An oil painting by the Dutch Joos van Cleve, dated to about 1512, is on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.[4] Michelangelo's tempera rendition (c. 1506) hangs in the Uffizi in Florence, Italy.[5] A Holy Family by Giulio Romano is on view at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California.[6]

Patronages and customs

The members of the Holy Family are the patrons of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The Holy Cross Sisters are dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Holy Cross Brothers to St. Joseph, and the Priests of Holy Cross to the Sacred Heart. The Sons of the Holy Family is another religious congregation devoted to the Holy Family.

The Cathedral of the Holy Family of Nazareth is the see of the Diocese of Tulsa in Oklahoma.[7]

A pious practice among Catholics is to write "J.M.J." at the top of letters and personal notes as a reference to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the Holy Family.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Strasser O.S.B., Bernard. With Christ Through the Year". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  2. ^ Martin, James. "The Holy Family", Catholic Update
  3. ^ It is not among the ten feasts listed in canon 1247 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law and canon 1246 of the 1983 Code as holy days of obligation.
  4. ^ ""The Holy Family", New York Metropolitan Museum of Art". Metmuseum.org. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  5. ^ ""The Holy Family", Art in the Bible". Artbible.info. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  6. ^ "The Holy Family", The J. Paul Getty Museum Archived 2014-01-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Cathedral of the Holy Family of Nazareth". Archived from the original on 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  8. ^ Perrotta, Louise Bourassa (March 2000). Saint Joseph. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-87973-573-9.

External links


Bellshill (pronounced "Bells hill") is a town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, 10 miles (16 km) south east of Glasgow city centre and 37 miles (60 km) west of Edinburgh. Other nearby towns are Motherwell (2 miles (3 km)), Hamilton (3 miles (5 km)) and Coatbridge (3 miles (5 km)). Since 1996, it has been situated in the Greater Glasgow metropolitan area. The town has a population of about 20,650.

Church of the Holy Family (New Rochelle, New York)

The Church of the Holy Family is a Roman Catholic parish located in New Rochelle, New York. Founded in 1913, the Church of the Holy Family has undergone expansion and re-construction of its physical church over the years. The church is ethnically and linguistically diverse, reflecting the demographics of its surrounding area, as it draws considerable numbers of Caribbean, Southeast Asian, African, and Italian parishioners. As of 2013, the church served around 1,200 families and educated 380 children in grades four through seven in religious education programs.

Church of the Holy Family (Staten Island, New York)

The Church of the Holy Family is a Roman Catholic parish church under the authority of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located in Staten Island, New York City. The parish was founded in 1966 and is located at 366 Watchogue Road Westerleigh, Staten Island.

Flight into Egypt

The flight into Egypt is a story recounted in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:13–23) and in New Testament apocrypha. Soon after the visit by the Magi, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to flee to Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus since King Herod would seek the child to kill him. The episode is frequently shown in art, as the final episode of the Nativity of Jesus in art, and was a common component in cycles of the Life of the Virgin as well as the Life of Christ. Within the narrative tradition, iconic representation of the "Rest on the Flight into Egypt" developed after the 14th century.

Hillcrest Heights, Maryland

Hillcrest Heights is an unincorporated area and census-designated place (CDP) in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, with an African-American majority population. The population was 16,469 at the 2010 census. For mailing address purposes, it is part of the smaller community of Temple Hills and is also near Suitland. It is also the birthplace of former San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions linebacker, Julian Peterson.

Holy Family Academy (Bayonne, New Jersey)

Holy Family Academy was a private Roman Catholic college preparatory school for young women located in Bayonne, in Hudson County, New Jersey, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1925 that closed its doors in June 2013. The most recent building, 239 Avenue A, was dedicated in 1954. The school operated under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. The school had been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1965.Students were enrolled mostly from Hudson County, Northern New Jersey, and New York City. As of the 2009-10 school year, the school had an enrollment of 173 students and 29.4 classroom teachers for a student to teacher ratio of 5.9:1.The school was a member of National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA); Assigned School ID: 863985.

Holy Family Catholic Church (Chicago)

The Holy Family Catholic Church is the second oldest Roman Catholic church in Chicago, Illinois, United States, and is the city's original Jesuit Parish church. It is one of the few structures that survived the Chicago Fire.

Holy Family Catholic Church (Omaha, Nebraska)

Holy Family Church was built in 1883 at 1715 Izard Street, at the intersections of 18th and Izard Streets in North Omaha, Nebraska within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha. It is the oldest existing Catholic Church in Omaha, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Holy Family High School (Glendale, California)

Holy Family High School is a Catholic, all-girls preparatory school in Glendale, California. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Holy Family University

Holy Family University is a Roman Catholic liberal arts university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was chartered in 1954 by the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. In addition to the main Torresdale campus in the northeastern section of the city, there are satellite locations in Newtown, and on Bristol Pike in Bensalem.

Newbridge, County Kildare

Newbridge, officially known by its Irish name Droichead Nua ([ˈd̪ˠɾˠɛçəd̪ˠ n̪ˠuə]), is a town in County Kildare, Ireland. While the nearby Great Connell Priory was founded in the 13th century, the town itself formed from the 18th century onwards, and grew rapidly alongside a military barracks which opened in the early 19th century. Taking on the name Newbridge (An Droichead Nua) in the 20th century, the town expanded to support the local catchment, and also as a commuter town for Dublin. Doubling in population during the 20 years between 1991 and 2011, its population of 22,742 in 2016 makes it the largest town in Kildare and the fifteenth-largest in Ireland.

Port Allen, Louisiana

Port Allen is a city in, and the parish seat of, West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States. Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, it is bordered by Interstate 10 and US Highway 190. The population was 5,180 at the 2010 census, down from 5,278 in 2000. It is part of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Port Allen is home to the Mississippi Riverfront Development, which provides a panoramic view of the Mississippi River and Baton Rouge, the West Baton Rouge Museum, the City of Port Allen Railroad Depot, Scott's Cemetery, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, and the Port Allen Lock.

Port Allen is named for Governor Henry Watkins Allen, the last governor of the state during the Confederacy.

Silver Lake College

Silver Lake College is a four-year, Catholic liberal arts college located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, United States, in the Diocese of Green Bay. Founded as an academy in 1885 by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, the college achieved four-year college status in 1935 and was then called Holy Family College. In 1972 the college became separately incorporated from the Franciscan order, and was renamed Silver Lake College of the Holy Family. Robert B. Callahan is the college's president.

Sisters of the Holy Family (Louisiana)

The Sisters of the Holy Family based in New Orleans, Louisiana, were founded in 1837 as the Sisters of the Presentation by Henriette DeLille. In 1842, the religious institute changed its name to the Sisters of the Holy Family. Member use the Post-nominal letters S.S.F. which stands for Souers de la Sainte Famille.

St. Joseph of the Holy Family Church (New York City)

Not to be confused with the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village, St. Joseph's Church, Chinatown (Manhattan) or St. Joseph's Church, Yorkville (Manhattan), all in Manhattan.The Church of St. Joseph of the Holy Family is a Roman Catholic parish church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located at 401 West 125th Street at Morningside Avenue in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It is the oldest existing church in Harlem and above 44th Street in Manhattan. On June 28, 2016 it was designated a New York City Landmark.

The Holy Family of Francis I (Raphael)

The Holy Family is a 1518 painting of the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary and Joseph), Saint Elisabeth, an infant John the Baptist and two angels. It is signed by Raphael, but most of the work was delegated to his workshop assistants. It was commissioned by Pope Leo X as a gift to Claude, wife of Francis I of France, hence its name. It is now in the Louvre.

The Holy Family with Angels

The Holy Family with Angels (1645) is an oil painting on canvas by the Dutch landscape painter Rembrandt. It is an example of Dutch Golden Age painting and is now in the collection of the Hermitage Museum.

The Holy Family with the Dragonfly

The Holy Family with the Dragonfly, also known as The Holy Family with the Mayfly, The Holy Family with the Locust and The Holy Family with the Butterfly is an engraving by the German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) from approximately 1495. It is quite small but full of intricate detail. A very popular image, copied by other printmakers within five years of creation, it is found in most major print room collections, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the UK Royal Collection.

Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London

The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London (Ukrainian: Єпархія Пресвятої Родини у Лондоні; Latin: Eparchia Sanctae Familiae Londiniensis) is the eparchy (bishopric) for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Great Britain. It is one of two Eastern Rite Catholic dioceses in Great Britain, along with the Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Great Britain.

Unlike many other nations outside Ukraine to which the Ukrainian diaspora have emigrated, such as Canada and Australia, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Great Britain did not have eparchal status (equivalent to diocesan status in the Latin Church) until 18 January 2013, when the apostolic exarchate was promoted. Due to the comparatively small number of faithful in the eparchy, in comparison with Latin Catholic dioceses in Britain there are fewer services, such as schools and care centres, provided.

Life events
New Testament
Ordinary Time I
Paschal Triduum
Ordinary Time II
Gifts of the Magi
In art

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