FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Missa "Exsultat gaudio pater"
Double Major Feast
"Is it not right," says Leo XIII., "that we should celebrate the royal birth of the Son of the Sovereign Father, the House of David, and the glorious names of that ancient lineage ? It is more pleasing to us, however, to recall the little House of Nazareth and the humble existence which they led there; it is more pleasing to celebrate the obscure life of Jesus.
"There the Divine Child serves His apprenticeship to the humble trade of Joseph, there in the seclusion of the home He grows in age and shows Himself happy to share in the work of the carpenter.
"His tender mother keeps with Him, the devoted wife with her husband she is happy to be able to soothe their troubles and their labours with loving care".
In the humble house of Nazareth, Jesus, Mary and Joseph sanctified their family life by the exercise of' the domestic virtues (Collect). There they practised, as the Epistle and the Gospel tells us, charity, mutual help, respect and obedience (Gospel). There they always found joy and peace in meditation and prayer in common. May we, after leading a life like theirs, on. earth, deserve to share their holy company in Heaven (Collect).
The special devotion which proposes the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the model of virtue of all Christian households began in the XVIIth century. It started almost simultaneously in Canada and France. -- The Association of the Holy Family being founded in Montreal in 1663, and the Daughters of the Holy Family in Paris in 1674. Numerous other congregations and associations under the Patronage of the Holy Family have been established, since that time, and they are spread over the world.
The Archconfraternity was established by Pius IX in 1847. In 1893 Leo XIII approved a feast for Canada, and
Benedict XV, wishing to assure to the souls of the faithful the benefit to be derived from meditation on and imitation of the virtues of the Holy Family, extended the Feast to the whole Church and ordered its celebration to be kept on the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany or, by anticipation, on Saturday, January 12, when the Epiphany and its Octave fall on a Sunday.
Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945