Fr. Britto's Blog

Holy Family 2018

Probably you are recovering from your Christmas get-togethers and looking forward to the New Year. Between these two feasts there comes another liturgical celebration, namely, the Feast of the Holy Family. The Church invites the faithful to focus their attention on the holy trio – Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Hopefully we can all learn some significant lessons from them.

The gospels present the Holy Family as being besieged and under stress. They are constantly on the move from Bethlehem to Egypt, and then from Egypt to Nazareth. Mary and Joseph recognize the need to protect the Christ Child from a king who wants to assassinate Him. They do all in their power to provide a safe haven for the God Who made Himself small. A simple carpenter and a humble handmaiden set aside their own comfort and convenience to provide for their Son. What the Holy Family confronted in their lives two thousand years ago resonates with what families are grappling with today.

Compared to the Holy Family, we have much easier lives and more resources at our disposal. Our standard of life is probably higher than what even Herod the Great could have imagined or hoped for. Not even Baby Jesus could have aspired for the opportunities that our children take for granted today. And yet, the one resource that the Holy Family had was time. They had plenty of it. The gospel stories are sketchy at best but they seem to imply that His parents were totally consumed by their eagerness to take care of Jesus. Mary and Joseph, it would seem, gave all their attention to their Child.

The family today is under a lot of stress. In spite of our material well-being, we lack the one thing that the Holy Family seems to have had, namely, time. Both parents and children are over-committed and over-extended. More than ever parents are super-involved in the lives of their children and yet the family as such does not seem to have much quality time together. This lack of time seems to have a negative impact on our children whom we love dearly. In her impactful book, The Price of Privilege, Madeline Levine laments:

Raising children has come to look more and more like a business endeavor and less and less like an endeavor of the heart. We are overly concerned with ‘the bottom line,’ and with how our children ‘do’ rather than with who our children ‘are.’ We pour time, attention, and money into insuring their performance, consistently making it to their soccer game while inconsistently making it to the dinner table.

In other words, Ms Levine calls on families to spend time together, just to give undivided attention to each other.

I am calling on all families to make a resolution for the coming year to give each other the gift of time. I have a dear friend who has five children. She makes sure that she spends a few hours every month alone with each child, doing that child’s favorite activity whether it is shopping or eating out or going to a show. I would like to invite you to spend quality time as a family, doing things together, just being with each other. Make it a priority to share meals together. It is around the kitchen table and the dinner table that we build up our family units. As families let us establish “No devices periods” during our family time so that we can give each other total attention. Come on Sunday to church as a family. Pray together. I am sure all of you do these things. I just want to encourage us all to keep on doing them.

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, let us also pray for those families that are on the run. Just like Jesus, Mary and Joseph, there are families in our country that have no home. Let us remember all those who are far away from their loved ones, especially the men and women in the armed forces. Let us also feel compassion for immigrants and refugees.

May you have a grace-filled New Year! As always, you are in my prayers. God has planned some great things for all of us both as individuals and as a parish. Let us be ready for the ride.

God bless you!

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel