Holy Family

Last updated
Miniature in the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany, 1503-08, by Jean Bourdichon Fol. 159v - Joseph Marie et l'Enfant.jpg
Miniature in the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany, 1503–08, by Jean Bourdichon

The Holy Family consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. The subject became popular in art from the 1490s on, [1] but veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 17th century by Saint François de Laval, the first bishop of New France, who founded a confraternity.

Contents

The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church, as well as in many Lutheran and Anglican churches, in honour of Jesus, His mother, and His step-father, Saint Joseph, as a family; [2] it has been observed since 1921 when it was inserted by Pope Benedict XV. [3] The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families. [4] There are many churches dedicated to the Holy Family. [5]

The Feast of the Holy Family falls within the season of Christmastide and in the General Roman Calendar since 1969, it is held on the Sunday between Christmas Day and January 1; if both are Sundays, the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on December 30th. [2] For those communities keeping the General Roman Calendar of 1960 or the General Roman Calendar of 1954, the Feast is kept on the Sunday after Epiphany Day, which occurs on January 6th. Those two traditional calendars only differ in years when the Sunday after January 6th is January 13th. In such a case the General Roman Calendar of 1960 keeps the Holy Family on the 13th whereas the General Roman Calendar of 1954 moves the feast up to January 12th.

Painted wood, c. 1510s, Kempten, Bavaria La Sainte Famille, Paris, Musee de Cluny.jpg
Painted wood, c. 1510s, Kempten, Bavaria

The Gospels speak little of the life of the Holy Family in the years before Jesus’ public ministry. [6] Matthew and Luke narrate the episodes from this period of Christ's life, namely his circumcision and later Presentation, the flight to Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the Finding in the Temple. [4] Joseph and Mary were apparently observant Jews, as Luke narrates that they brought Jesus with them on the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem with other Jewish families.

Veneration

The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church, as well as in many Lutheran and Anglican churches, in honour of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his legal father, Saint Joseph, as a family. [2] [3] The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families. [4]

From the 17th century, the feast has been celebrated at a local and regional level and at that level was promoted by Pope Leo XIII. In 1921, Pope Benedict XV made it part of the General Roman Calendar and set on the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany (cf. Epiphanytide ); that is to say, on the Sunday between January 7 through January 13, all inclusive (see General Roman Calendar of 1954). [7] [8]

In the General Roman Calendar of 1954, the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas was in fact celebrated on the Sunday only if it fell on 29, 30 or 31 December, since it gave way to the higher-ranked feasts of Saint Stephen, Saint John the Apostle and the Holy Innocents; otherwise, it was transferred to December 30, and if the feast of Saint Thomas Becket, one of the most popular additions to the calendar in the Middle Ages, was celebrated in double rite (as it was universally after 1907), then it too took precedence over this Sunday, until the 1911 reforms where double feasts no longer did so automatically. The 1962 Roman Missal, whose use is still authorized per the 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum , follows the General Roman Calendar of 1960, which ranks the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas as higher than these saints and keeps the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday after Epiphany.

The 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar moved the celebration of the Holy Family to the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, that is, the Sunday between Christmas Day and New Year's Day (both exclusive), or if both Christmas Day and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God are Sundays, on 30 December, which is always a Friday in such years. When not celebrated on a Sunday, it is not a holy day of obligation. [9] In the General Roman Calendar of 1969 the Feast of the Holy Family outranks the various saints whose feastdays fall during the Octave of Christmas, namely Saint Stephen, Saint John the Apostle and the Holy Innocents, in a departure from the General Roman Calendar of 1954.

In art

Holy Family with Saints Anne and John the Baptist, Andrea Mantegna, 1495-1500 Andrea Mantegna 085.jpg
Holy Family with Saints Anne and John the Baptist, Andrea Mantegna, 1495-1500

The Holy Family became a subject popular in art in the early 16th century, in both Italian Renaissance painting and Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting. The popularity of the subject was associated with an increased interest in, and devotion to, Saint Joseph. In the later Middle Ages he had become something of a comic figure, whose age was emphasized, and was often shown asleep in Nativity scenes. In the 15th century confraternities dedicated to Joseph were part of revived devotional interest, who is now at least awake, and often shown taking an active role in parenting. [10]

Many early Holy Family compositions are either Nativity scenes or the Rest on the Flight into Egypt with the removal of other event-specific elements, such as the ox and ass of the Nativity, to concentrate on the three main figures for devotional images, mostly intended for wealthy homes. Alternatively many compositions clearly derive from a Madonna and Child , with a Saint Joseph added. Often the figures were shown close-up, filling much of the picture space. [11]

Related variants add Jesus's slightly older cousin, Saint John the Baptist, and often his mother Saint Elizabeth; but Joseph is often absent in these, removing them from the usual definition of a Holy Family. It was thought that the Holy Family stayed with Elizabeth on their return from Egypt, and these pictures tend to show the children older than newborns. The extended family of Jesus, already popular as a subject in art, is called the Holy Kinship; this might include up to twenty figures. [12]

Italy

The Parte Guelfa Holy Family by Luca Signorelli dates from about 1490. Mantegna appears to have invented the very tightly focused group in the late 1490s, painting several variants with John the Baptist and his mother, such as one now in Dresden. Some of these have standing or vertical infants, mostly toddlers rather than new-borns. [13]

By the High Renaissance many Italian paintings had a horizontal format. The subject was popular with Antonio da Correggio (examples are in Pavia, Orléans, the Royal Collection, Los Angeles and Mantua), and Domenico Beccafumi (examples in Munich, Galleria Palatina, Florence and also the Uffizi there). Michelangelo's tempera rendition (c. 1506) hangs in the Uffizi in Florence, Italy. [14] A Holy Family by Giulio Romano is in the Prado, with another at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California. [15]

Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece, c. 1500 Sainte Famille Musee Stadel Francfort SG0449.jpg
Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece, c. 1500

Lorenzo Lotto also painted the subject several times, tending to add angels and saints from later periods, to produce versions of a sacra conversazione. Examples are Holy Family with Saint Catherine of Alexandria , Holy Family with St Jerome and St Anne , as well as one in the Louvre with the families of Jesus and John the Baptist.

Northern Europe

North of the Alps, prints from the 1490s by Albrecht Dürer probably preceded any paintings. An early northern painting is by the Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece around 1500, where the composition has clearly been freshly imagined. By contrast, the Holy Family by the Dutch artist Joos van Cleve of c.1512 in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, [16] essentially reduces Jan van Eyck's Lucca Madonna to a close-up with still life details, and adds Saint Joseph over the Virgin's shoulder. [17]

Patronages and customs

The members of the Holy Family are the patrons of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The Holy Cross Sisters are dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Holy Cross Brothers to Saint Joseph, and the Priests of Holy Cross to the Sacred Heart. The Sons of the Holy Family is another religious congregation devoted to the Holy Family.

The Cathedral of the Holy Family of Nazareth is the see of the Diocese of Tulsa in Oklahoma. [19]

A pious practice among Christians, especially Catholics, is to write "✝ J.M.J. ✝" often flanked by two Christian crosses at the top of letters, cards, documents and personal notes as a reference to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the Holy Family. [20] Where it is written, "✝ J.M.J. ✝" is an "appeal for the blessing of the Holy Family." [21]

See also

Notes

  1. Ainsworth, 122
  2. 1 2 3 Driver, Cory (27 December 2019). "What are the 12 days of Christmas?". Living Lutheran . Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  3. 1 2 Pfatteicher, Philip H. (1990). Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship: Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context. Augsburg Fortress. p. 215. ISBN   978-0-8006-0392-2.
  4. 1 2 3 "Strasser O.S.B., Bernard. With Christ Through the Year". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  5. Rooms, Nigel (2003). Uninished churches. Third Way. p. 26.
  6. Martin, James. "The Holy Family", Catholic Update
  7. Encyclopædia Britannica: Feast of the Holy Family
  8. Ss. Cosmas and Damian Roman Catholic Parish: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
  9. It is not among the ten feasts listed in canon 1247 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, and canon 1246 of the 1983 Code as holy days of obligation. It would be a day of obligatory Mass attendance in years only when it falls on a Sunday by virtue of it being a Sunday, not by virtue of it being the Feast of the Holy Family
  10. Ainsworth, 122
  11. Hall, 335
  12. Hall, 335
  13. The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist, Andrea Mantegna, National Gallery]
  14. ""The Holy Family", Art in the Bible". Artbible.info. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  15. "The Holy Family", The J. Paul Getty Museum Archived 2014-01-02 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ""The Holy Family", New York Metropolitan Museum of Art". Metmuseum.org. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  17. Snyder, James. Northern Renaissance Art, 1985, p. 417, Harry N. Abrams, ISBN   0136235964
  18. University of Dayton Libraries
  19. "Cathedral of the Holy Family of Nazareth". Archived from the original on 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  20. Perrotta, Louise Bourassa (March 2000). Saint Joseph. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. p. 149. ISBN   978-0-87973-573-9.
  21. Manney, Jim (1 November 2017). Ignatian Spirituality A to Z. Loyola Press. ISBN   978-0-8294-4599-2.

Related Research Articles

Liturgical year Annually recurring fixed sequence of Christian feast days

The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read either in an annual cycle or in a cycle of several years.

In the liturgical calendar of the Roman Rite, a solemnity is a feast day of the highest rank celebrating a mystery of faith such as the Trinity, an event in the life of Jesus, his mother Mary, his legal father Joseph, or another important saint. The observance begins with the vigil on the evening before the actual date of the feast. Unlike feast days of the rank of feast or those of the rank of memorial, solemnities replace the celebration of Sundays outside Advent, Lent, and Easter.

Saint Josephs Day Catholic festival to remember Joseph, husband of Mary

Saint Joseph's Day, also called the Feast of Saint Joseph or the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, is in Western Christianity the principal feast day of Saint Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and legal father of Jesus Christ celebrated on 19 March. It has the rank of a solemnity in the Catholic Church. It is a feast or commemoration in the provinces of the Anglican Communion, and a feast or festival in the Lutheran Church. Saint Joseph's Day is the Patronal Feast day for Poland as well as for Canada, persons named Joseph, Josephine, etc., for religious institutes, schools and parishes bearing his name, and for carpenters. It is also Father's Day in some Catholic countries, mainly Spain, Portugal, and Italy. It is not a holy day of obligation for Catholics in the United States.

Twelve Days of Christmas Period between 25 December and 5 January

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a festive Christian season celebrating the Nativity of Jesus. In some Western ecclesiastical traditions, "Christmas Day" is considered the "First Day of Christmas" and the Twelve Days are 25 December to 5 January, inclusive, with 6 January being a "thirteenth day" in some traditions and languages. However, 6 January is sometimes considered Twelfth Day/Twelfth Night with the Twelve Days "of" Christmas actually after Christmas Day from 26 December to 6 January. For many Christian denominations—for example, the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Church—the Twelve Days are identical to Christmastide, but for others, e.g. the Roman Catholic Church, Christmastide lasts longer than the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Annunciation Announcement of the birth of Jesus to Mary

The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of Our Lady, or the Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she would conceive and bear a son through a virgin birth and become the mother of Jesus Christ, the Christian Messiah and Son of God, marking the Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Jesus, meaning "YHWH is salvation".

Christmastide Christian liturgical period

Christmastide is a season of the liturgical year in most Christian churches. In some, Christmastide is identical to Twelvetide.

Epiphany (holiday) Christian feast, public holiday in some countries

Epiphany, also known as Theophany in Eastern Christian traditions, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation (theophany) of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Christian feast day

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, or Theophany, is the feast day commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Originally the baptism of Christ was celebrated on Epiphany, which commemorates the coming of the Magi, the baptism of Christ, and the wedding at Cana. Over time in the West, however, the celebration of the baptism of the Lord came to be commemorated as a distinct feast from Epiphany. It is celebrated in the Catholic Church as well as the Anglican and Lutheran Churches on the first Sunday following The Epiphany of Our Lord.

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is a feast of the liturgical year celebrated by Christians on varying dates.

Visitation (Christianity) Christian story and feast of Mary visiting Elizabeth

In Christianity, the Visitation is the visit of Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, to Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, in the Gospel of Luke, Luke 1:39–56.

Epiphany season Liturgical period, immediately following the Christmas season

The Epiphany season, also known as Epiphanytide or the time of Sundays After Epiphany, is a liturgical period, celebrated by many Christian Churches, which immediately follows the Christmas season. It begins on Epiphany Day, and ends at various points as defined by those denominations. The typical liturgical color for the day of Epiphany is white, and the typical color for Epiphany season is green.

Feast of the Circumcision of Christ

The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ is a Christian celebration of the circumcision of Jesus in accordance with Jewish tradition, eight days after his birth, the occasion on which the child was formally given his name.

This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as they were at the end of 1954. It is essentially the same calendar established by Pope Pius X (1903–1914) following his liturgical reforms, but it also incorporates changes that were made by Pope Pius XI (1922–1939), such as the institution of the Feast of Christ the King, and the changes made by Pope Pius XII (1939–1958) prior to 1955, chief among them the imposition of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary upon the universal Church in 1944, the inscription of Pius X into the General Calendar following his 1954 canonization, and the institution of the Feast of the Queenship of Mary in October 1954.

"Octave" has two senses in Christian liturgical usage. In the first sense, it is the eighth day after a feast, reckoning inclusively, and so always falls on the same day of the week as the feast itself. The word is derived from Latin octava (eighth), with dies (day) understood. In the second sense, the term is applied to the whole period of these eight days, during which certain major feasts came to be observed.

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Feast day in the Roman Catholic Church

The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God is a feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the aspect of her motherhood of Jesus Christ, whom she had circumcised on the 8th day, according to the Levitical Law. Christians see him as the Lord, the Son of God. It is celebrated by the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church on 1 January, the Octave (8th) day of Christmastide. The solemnity is a Holy Day of Obligation in areas that have not abrogated it.

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist Christian feast day celebrating the birth of John the Baptist

The Nativity of John the Baptist is a Christian feast day celebrating the birth of John the Baptist. The Nativity of John the Baptist is a high-ranking liturgical feast, kept in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran churches. The sole biblical account of the birth of John the Baptist comes from the Gospel of Luke.

Feast of the Annunciation Celebration commemorating the visit of the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary

The Feast of the Annunciation, contemporarily the Solemnity of the Annunciation, and also called Lady Day, the Feast of the Incarnation, or Conceptio Christi, commemorates the visit of the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, during which he informed her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is celebrated on 25 March each year. In the Roman Catholic Church, when 25 March falls during the Paschal Triduum, it is transferred forward to the first suitable day during Eastertide. In Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism, it is never transferred, even if it falls on Pascha (Easter). The concurrence of these two feasts is called Kyriopascha.

In 1955 Pope Pius XII made several changes to the General Roman Calendar of 1954, changes that remained in force only until 1960, when Pope John XXIII, on the basis of further recommendations of the commission that Pius XII had set up, decreed a further revision of the General Roman Calendar. The changes made by Pope Pius XII thus remained unaltered for only five years.

The Ranking of liturgical days in the Roman Rite is a regulation for the liturgy of the Roman Catholic church. It determines for each liturgical day which observance has priority when liturgical dates and times coincide, which texts are used for the celebration of the Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the hours and which liturgical color is assigned to the day or celebration.

References