Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
This month of February is dedicated to increasing our devotion to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and to imitating their practice of everyday holiness. The Holy Family lived and loved in a unity of Love for God and each other. The experience of the Holy Family was one of profound Grace that was given by God the Father in and through His Son, Jesus. This Grace was the Third per-son of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives and acts in a Christian home that is open to His Divine action - sanctifying and fostering in family life experiences of joy, forgiveness and peace. While our common experiences of family life may not have the constant blessedness found in the Holy Family, Christian families are, nonetheless, called to holiness through receiving and sharing many of the same Graces that were present in the life of the Holy Family. The Sacraments of our Church and a daily life of prayer is the heart of a joyful family life. Families that encounter Jesus through the Holy Eucharist, regular reception of the Sacrament of Confession and daily communal prayer will inevitably become a more true reflection of the Holy Family. This will hap-pen because Jesus will be the center and meaning of family life - just as it was for Mary and Joseph. I encourage all of us to make Jesus the center and King of our hearts, homes, family life and parish experiences. Making Jesus the center of our personal life is rooted in daily encounters with Jesus. Participation in our parish life is a key habit to grow in a Christ-centered life. I encourage you to make visits to Jesus in our parishes, and to seek the Sacrament of Confession at least once a month.
For family prayer in your home, I recommend above all the Holy Rosary! Devotion to St. Joseph, St. Michael the Archangel and the Guardian Angels is excellent! Here are some other prayers that may be helpful during February, dedicated to devotion to the Holy Family:
Consecration to the Holy Family: O Jesus, our most loving Re-deemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teach-ing and example, did will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families; graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou defend us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy Holy Fear, true Peace, and con-cord in Christian Love: in order that, by conforming ourselves to the Divine Pattern of Thy Family, we may be able, all of us with-out exception, to attain to Eternal Happiness.
Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by thy kindly inter-cession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His Graces and Blessings.
O St. Joseph, most holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal necessities; so that we may be enabled to praise our Divine Savior, Jesus Christ, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity. Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, three times.
In Honor of the Holy Family: O God, Heavenly Father, it was part of Thine Eternal Decree that Thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, should form a Holy Family with Mary, His blessed Mother, and His foster father, St. Joseph. In Nazareth, home life was sanctified, and a perfect example was given to every Christian family. Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may fully comprehend and faithfully imitate the virtues of the Holy Family so that we may be united with them one day in their heavenly Glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Invocation: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph most kind, bless us now and in death's agony.
For the Prayerful Protection of the Holy Family: Grant unto us, Lord Jesus, ever to follow the example of Thy Holy Family, that in the hour of our death Thy glorious Virgin Mother together with blessed Joseph may come to meet us and we may be worthily received by Thee into everlasting dwellings: who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen. Roman Missal
Prayer Source: The Prayer Book, by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954.
Through the intercession of the Holy Family and our patrons, St. Michael and St. Paul, may God bless you, your families, and our parishes!
In Christ through Mary,