The feast of the Holy Family, which is situated appropriately between Christmas and New Year’s Day, serves as a context for the events it bridges: the birth of Christ and the octave of Mary. Living in a loving manner sometimes can be most difficult within the family (the domestic Church), where intimate conflicts yield deep wounds, and where routine and familiarity can breed contempt and complacency. So we look to the Holy Family as models of fraternal love in a world of fractured family life and institutions. You’ll find the entire reflection online.
Every day of the Christmas octave is filled with meaning that reflects back on the Nativity, not just the birth of Christ but the impact, the reality of the birth. Octaves can be traced back to the Old Testament, Each of these feast days within the octave continues the joys of Christmas Day and helps us in our attempt to understand the mystery of the Incarnation. Read all about the octaves online.
The last two weeks of Advent are laden with celebrations both traditional and popular, making it one of the most action-packed few weeks of the Church year. Online you’ll find seven traditional practices your family might want to try during the “heart” of Advent, or at least acknowledge in some small way. Don’t feel pressured to try them all—choose one or two, leaving some time for quiet prayer and anticipation. We’ve got some suggestions for that, too. You’ll find them online.
Veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose feast day is December 12, is not limited to Catholics of Hispanic heritage. Indeed, she is the patroness of all America: North, Central and South, as Pope Pius XII designated in 1945. How did this come about? Find out online.
Saint Francis Xavier was born in Spain, but became the first missionary Jesuit. His first journey was to India, but he expanded his travels and ministry to Malaysia, Japan and even China. He baptized tens of thousands people and built more than forty churches. It’s said he was responsible for more conversions to Christianity than any one single person since St. Paul the Apostle. Learn more about him online.