Saturday, December 29, 2018

Sixth Day of Christmas: Holy Family




This year the sixth  day of Christmas in the amazing world of Catholicism falls on a day celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Family. 

The  history of the Feast can be traced back to Canada in the 17th Century. Since that time various "Confraternities of the Holy Family" have been founded and you will even find a slightly off beat version available via Facebook  In his Pulitzer Prize winning memoir Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt writes of his experience in the Confraternity in Limerick, Ireland as a schoolboy.

The Feast eventually made into into the Liturgical Calendar  listed for the Sunday in the Octave of the Epiphany. In 1969 just after the release of Humanae Vitae it was moved to the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas. 

Long before the feast was added to the liturgical calendar images of the Holy Family were a popular theme  of European art history More recently in 2012 he US Postal Services issued a Holy Family stamp. This year I pay tribute to Sr Wendy Beckett who died on Boxing day 2018 with her reflection  on Janet McKenzie's The Holy Family.

There is also a new and exciting tradition of queering the image of the Holy Family to embrace the diversity of sexuality and spirituality that is evident in the image I have used above  from the collection of Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin.

As a single gay man with no children of my own  I belong to those who are usually overlooked in the preaching of today's celebration. So here are a couple of challenging readings I discovered that make this day inclusive and joyful for those who cannot 'fit into" the image of the traditional "Holy Family":
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