|The Holy Family
An Advent or Christmas ritual for the family
Prayers for the visit of a Statue or Icon of the Holy Family to your home
parishes, a ‘pilgrim statue’ or other image of
the Holy Family is passed from family to family as a
focus for prayers during this season, to remember
the journey to Bethlehem or (after Christmas) the
flight into Egypt. Each family keeps the image for
at least a day, and then passes it on by mutual
agreement to another family.
The arrival of the image
The family bringing it will say:
"The Holy Family is looking for a place to rest, but there is no one to welcome them. No one welcomes the Master of Heaven and Earth.
"It is already late in the evening. The birds have gone to their nests and the foxes to their holes; only the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Only the Virgin Mary and the faithful Joseph are still carrying their Lord through the darkness.
"Will you, good people, welcome the Christ Child?"
The family receiving the image will say:
"Let us welcome you in, Mary and Joseph. Cry no more, Mary: we gladly share our home with you. We welcome the Christ Child."
Then the family leaving the image will say:
your family be richly blessed, when the King of
Heaven, with Our Lady and good Saint Joseph, make
their home with you."
Installing the image
The image is given a place of honour in the house, and a candle or votive light is lit before it. Someone reads Luke 2:1-7, and then perhaps some verses of a carol could be sung. Finish with these three prayers:
"O JESUS, behold our family kneeling before you. We consecrate ourselves to you afresh, handing over to you our troubles and our joys, in the hope that our home may become, like yours, a shrine of peace, purity, love, honest work and faith. Protect us all and bless all the members of our family, those with us today and those far away, and especially those who have gone ahead of us in death.
"O MARY, loving Mother of Jesus and our mother, please pray to Jesus for our family, and for all the families of our parish. Mother of Fairest Love, watch over the childhood and upbringing of our children, their education and the fostering of their vocations.
"O JOSEPH, Holy Guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by your strong prayers in all the necessities of life. Inspire us with ever-growing trust in your beloved Son. Watch at the bedside of the members of our family when they are ill or come to die, so that with you and our dear Lady, Heaven may find our family unbroken in the Sacred Heart of Jesus."
Novena to Saint