December 31-January 1, 2017

One of the calendar oddities about this year (it began with Christmas and New Year falling on Sundays) is need to move the Feast of the Holy Family to this past Friday. Usually the feast occurs on a Sunday, when families have the opportunity to reflect upon their call to holiness by celebrating the unique Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We've already passed this feast, but I wanted to offer a few reflections in hindsight.

What are the characteristics of a holy family in this early part of the 21st century? In many ways, nothing has changed in the family call to be holy: we must have faith, live in hope, and practice love. Holiness is best nurtured within a community of faith, in company with others striving for the same ideals. A commitment to receiving the sacraments, especially to the Eucharist and Reconciliation, makes the demands for holiness easier to meet. Such as been the case from the beginning of the Church.

Every age has its own unique challenges to holiness, and our times are no exception. A holy family today must find time for prayer. It must resist the invasion of materialism, and the spread of empty entertainments. Parishes must do their part to nourish spirituality, especially through the years between the sacraments of Baptism, First Eucharist and Confirmation.

I hope to promote in all the families of the parish a deeper understanding of our celebration of the mass. A small effort is already underway and available to you before and after mass. Each week two different videos on the mass are playing in the gathering room. They are short and easy to follow. Please take a moment to watch each week. In the months ahead we'll be making other efforts to grow in our understanding of the mass.