Rev. Robert Kelly

What it means to celebrate the ‘year of the family’

Published Jan 13, 2018 at 4:00pm

The Christmas season that we are just wrapping certainly gets us thinking about our families be they living or deceased.

I think in some way shape or form all of us try to make contact with family at this time via the cards, emails or visits. I have enjoyed an exchange of emails with my cousin who is a sort of family ancestry guru and through his research has been able to throw light on our extended family going back many years. 

This year in the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse we are celebrating a year of the family. Bishop Cunningham has written a pastoral letter to the parishes titled: “Enriching the Church: The Role of the Family in the Life of the Church of Syracuse and Beyond.” The pastoral letter certainly got me to thinking about my family and all the goodness and love that I have experienced with and through them.

The bishop calls the family the domestic church; or what we could say is a miniature church. In other words the prayer and care and support and outreach that characterize the big church should be part of the family “church” too.

There is an old saying I believe attributed to Fr. Patrick Peyton from the Albany diocese that went something like “the family that prayer together stays together.” Above and beyond that do we find or make time for each other in the family unit by celebrating special times, and being there for family events when and if we can.

I think we need each other as God made us to be a family not only to celebrate the good times but to be there for each other during the times of hurt and sorrow as well. I received a book this Christmas called “Wisdom on Love: Practical Advice for Families.” It is a collection of sayings from Pope Francis from his homilies and speeches over the years. In one of his comments he says there are no perfect families only families struggling to do better and love each other more and strive to keep move forward.

Family is where we should first learn about forgiveness and so learn so special words that are so necessary to use throughout our lives — I’m sorry and will try to do better.  

So as we enter into this new year so full of promise lets pray in thanksgiving for the blessings of family we have enjoyed over the years and renew ourselves in the task of living with and for these special people who have made us who we are in large measure.

Let us close with this prayer: 

Lord, our God thru the intercession of Jeus, Mary and Joseph guide us to the ways of happiness and holiness in our Family.

May God bless you all in this new year!