Thursday, December 30, 2010

On The Sixth Day Of Christmas . . . The Feast Of The Holy Family*

Today is the sixth day of the twelve days of Christmas . . .

My research into what was celebrated on this day in Medieval times, from whence the custom of a 12 day celebration of Christmas originates, has come up short. In the modern era, the Feast of the Holy Family was placed on general calendar of the Roman Rite on October 26, 1921. It is, by custom, celebrated on this day in those years when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Otherwise, the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the first Sunday after Christmas.

The purpose of this celebration is to use the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus as the model for all Christian families.

Prayer To The Holy Family:

Domine Iesu Christe, qui Mariae et Ioseph subditus, domesticam vitam ineffabilibus virtutibus consecrasti: fac nos, utriusque auxilio, Familiae sanctae tuae exemplis instrui et consortium consequi sempiternum: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, Who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.

Should it be that the Feast of the Holy Family is not celebrated this day, I would honor St. Ecgwine of Worcester whose feast falls on this day. Ecgwine, the 7th century son of a Mercian King, founded the Benedictine monastery of Evesham, England; the site was chosen because of an apparition of the Virgin Mary to a local herdsman. It became one of the great Benedictine houses of the Middle Ages. In his honor, it seems only fitting that one toast repeatedly with the libation produced by his order, Benedictine liquor. Do note that every bottle of Bénédictine has the initials D.O.M. on the label - it actually stands for "Deo Optimo Maximo"; "For our best, greatest God".

The 12 Days Of Christmas

The first eight days of Christmastide are known as the Octave

The 1st Day - Celebrating The Birth Of Christ
The 2nd Day - Feast of St. Stephen, The First Martyr of the Church
The 3rd Day - Feast of St. John the Evangelist & The Blessing Of The Wine
The 4th Day - Feast of the Holy Innocents
The 5th Day - Feast of St. Thomas a' Becket
The 6th Day - Feast of the Holy Family*
The 7th Day - Feast of St. SylvesterThe 8th Day – Feast of the Circumsision (& The Feast Of Fools - no longer celebrated)
The 9th Day – Feast of the Holy Name (1st Sunday of the New Year, unless that day falls on the 1st, 6th or 7th of January, in which case it falls on the 2nd of January)
10th Day of Christmas - Open
11th Day of Christmas – Open
12th Night

13 January – Baptism of Jesus

14 January - Feast Of The Ass - no longer celebrated

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