Office of Family Life

jubilee of Families

what is the jubilee of families?

During the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has called for a Jubilee of Families, which pays special attention to families within the context of the Year of Mercy. He has asked that families participate in the Year of Mercy by making a pilgrimage to a Holy Door and preparing for this pilgrimage spiritually in some way. In the Diocese of New Ulm, the Jubilee of Families will be celebrated on January 3 and will include Holy Mass with Bishop LeVoir at 10:00 AM at Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, along with a short program and reception afterwards.

A novena will be prayed by families all across the Diocese of New Ulm starting on December 26 and ending on January 3. Although a pilgrimage to the Holy Doors at the Cathedral is suggested, if your family is not able to make the pilgrimage, families are still strongly encouraged to pray the novena provided on this page (or in your parish bulletin).

Printable resources:


NOVENA TO THE HOLY FAMILY

A SPIRITUAL PREPARATION FOR THE JUBILEE OF FAMILIES

Novena Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, being subject to Mary and Joseph, You sanctified family life by your beautiful virtues. Grant that we, with the help of Mary and Joseph, may be taught by the example of Your holy Family, and may after death enjoy its everlasting companionship. Help us to ever follow the example of Your holy Family, that in the hour of our death Your glorious Virgin Mother together with Saint Joseph may come to meet us, and we may be worthy to be received by You into the everlasting joys of heaven. You live and reign forever. Amen.

"The Trinity of the Earth" by Jeronimo Ezquerra (PD-1923)

"The Trinity of the Earth" by Jeronimo Ezquerra (PD-1923)

day one - created in the image of the trinity

Reflection: How can we describe what it means to be human without first describing God? God is a “communion of persons” – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – constantly loving each other. Families, then, show us that man is made in the image and likeness of God: they are a communion of persons living in love. God’s nature as Trinity shows us that we need, first and foremost, God, but also that we need each other. “Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone…’” (Gen. 2:18).

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace to love our family members and neighbors in sacrificial love. Lord Jesus Christ…[see Novena Prayer]

Activities:

  • Make a commitment to say "I love you" to your family members at least once per day.
  • Right now, give each other a hug or have a family group hug.
  • Read the Creation story in Genesis 2:4-25.
  • Pray the Joyful mysteries of the Rosary.
Icon of the Nativity

Icon of the Nativity

 

Day Two – Created for Love

Reflection: “We can say that God created the universe in order to enter into a history of love with humankind. He created it so that love could exist…God created the universe in order to be able to become a human being and pour out his love upon us and to invite us to love him in return” (Joseph Ratzinger, In the Beginning:…, 30).

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace to open our hearts to receive the love of the Father. Lord Jesus Christ…[see Novena Prayer]

Activities:

  • If you have a Nativity scene in your home, keep it up until January 10 (Sunday After Epiphany), which is the end of the Christmas season. Read Luke 2:1-21.
  • Read John 1:1-14 (preferably in front of a Nativity scene) and genuflect during the words "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" to show reverence to the Incarnation. 
  • Jesus' mission was love. He gave all for love of us. Make a list of those people in your life who have given themselves unselfishly or out of love for you. List what they have done for you and/or your family.
  • Show your children their baby pictures and explain that because Mom and Dad love and God loves us so much he gave them children.
  • Read John 3:16.
  • Read the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) and discuss the Incarnation.
  • Read Bible stories that talk about how God cares for his creation.
The marriage of Mary and Joseph

The marriage of Mary and Joseph



Day Three – Love Is…

Reflection: In today’s day in age, love is often reduced down to being simply an emotion. Marriage, then, must be built on a stronger love than this, for emotions come and go. St. Paul speaks of this love in his letter to the Corinthians: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;…Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4-5, 7).

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace to be patient with one another, kind to one another, and always willing to help one another, even if it may be difficult for us. Lord Jesus Christ…[see Novena Prayer]

Activities:

  • Do a chore or favor for a family member, friend, or neighbor.
  • Make a list of things you don't like to do, but you know you should do them. Pick one of them and do it without complaining or do someone else's chore for them!
  • Write a "thank you" letter (or draw a picture) for someone who has shown you love and impacted your life.
  • Say you are sorry to someone you have hurt or just say "sorry" in general to your family members for any hurt you may have ever caused. Forgive those who apologize.
"The Holy Family with the Little Bird" by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

"The Holy Family with the Little Bird" by Bartolome Esteban Murillo


Day Four – The Domestic Church

Reflection: Most of us would never think of playing games or surfing the Internet on our cell phones during Mass. Yet the family has been called the “domestic church,” and often we find ourselves as families – whether during the holidays or just on an average weeknight – each gazing into our own bright screens without noticing each other’s presence. “Let us ask ourselves…what place does the Word of God have in my life, in my everyday life? Am I tuned into God…or into myself? This is a question that everyone of us needs to ask him- or herself” (Pope Francis, Address, Oct. 4, 2013).

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace to focus more on You and to be present to one another. Lord Jesus Christ…[see Novena Prayer]

Activities:

  • Have a family game night where no technology is not allowed.
  • Spend 15 minutes discussing how everyone's day was (no technology allowed).
  • Go to Holy Mass as a family.
  • Discuss the meaning of the feast days that occur between Christmas and Epiphany.
  • Sing Christmas carols as a family.
  • Have a family meal and turn off all phones while eating.
St. John Bosco with his spiritual children

St. John Bosco with his spiritual children


Day Five – The Fruitfulness of Every Vocation

Reflection: “Not everyone is called to marriage. But every life is meant to be fertile. Every life has the power and the need to nurture new life – if not through bearing and raising children, then through other vital forms of self-giving, building, and service. The Church is an extended family of different vocations…Priesthood, religious life, and the celibate lay vocation enrich, and are enriched by, the witness of the married state” (Love Is Our Mission, 63).

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace to discern your will for our lives. Lord Jesus Christ…[see Novena Prayer]

Activities:

  • Discuss as a family: what does God will for us, individually and as a family?
  • If you have any priests or religious in your family, say a Hail Mary for them right now.
  • Pray a family Rosary and include intentions for priests, religious brothers and sisters, for missionaries, and for holy families.
  • Include the petition with your meal prayers or night prayers that each family member will come to know their vocation given by God.
"The Dream of St. Joseph" by Anton Raphael Mengs

"The Dream of St. Joseph" by Anton Raphael Mengs


Day Six – St. Joseph as a Man of God

Reflection: It seems that St. Joseph didn’t have it easy. After all, he lived with the two holiest people ever. Even still, God chose St. Joseph to be the provider and protector of Jesus and Mary. He bravely led the Holy Family through dangerous journeys into safety and lived totally for his Family. Therefore, he is a model for all fathers: they, too, should live totally for Jesus and Mary and hence, for their family.

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant our husbands and fathers the grace they need to live a life dedicated to God and their family. Lord Jesus Christ…[see Novena Prayer]

Activities:

  • Husbands, do something special for your family this week or month.
  • Wives and/or children, do something special for Dad this week or month.
  • Children, ask your father for help. He'd love to help you!
  • Children, uphold the authority of your father by doing what he asks without complaining.
  • Husbands, ask your wife and/or children how their day was and listen attentively.
  • Read the Bible stories about how St. Joseph cared for Jesus and Mary.
"The Annunciation" by Henry Ossawa Tanner

"The Annunciation" by Henry Ossawa Tanner


Day Seven – Mary as Mother

Reflection: “The figure of Mary reminds women today of the value of motherhood. In the contemporary world the appropriate and balanced importance is not always given to this value… In Mary we have been given to understand the true meaning of motherhood, which attains its loftiest dimension in the divine plan of salvation. For her, being a mother not only endows her feminine personality, directed towards the gift of life, with its full development, but also represents an answer of faith to woman's own vocation which assumes its truest value only in the light of God's covenant” (St. John Paul II, Dec. 6, 1995).

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant our wives and mothers the grace they need to say “yes” to God and to show their family the beauty of womanhood. Lord Jesus Christ…[see Novena Prayer]

Activities:

  • Wives, take some time this week or month to go to church and pray before the Blessed Sacrament: just you and Jesus.
  • Husbands and/or children, tell mom "thanks" for all she does and give her a big, heartfelt hug.
  • Husbands and/or children, help Mom with chores around the house without her even asking!
  • Wives, with motherly care, create an atmosphere of unconditional love, peace, and joy in your family.
"Jesus Found in the Temple" by James Tissot (PD-1923)

"Jesus Found in the Temple" by James Tissot (PD-1923)


Day Eight – Jesus as Son to Mary and Joseph

Reflection: Consider for a moment the humility of God: that in taking on flesh and living among us within a family, he was to honor his father and mother as all children are to do. We might sometimes question the importance of the Fourth Commandment; after all, parents can sometimes seem a little too demanding. But Jesus sets an example for children: even though he is perfect, he shows respect to his parents and loves them.

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant our children the grace to seek holiness at all times. Lord Jesus Christ…[see Novena Prayer]

Activities:

  • Children, take time to pray at church or in your room, asking God to help you become a saint and to be patient with your parents.
  • Children, surprise your parents with a clean room.
  • Children living away from home (this includes everyone over 18), call up your parents spontaneously just to talk. Or surprise them with a visit.
  • Children, receive Jesus in Holy Communion and ask him to make you more like him.
  • Children, respect your parents in words and deeds.
A plenary indulgence is granted to all faithful who, upon meeting the usual requirements (Sacramental Confession and reception of Holy Communion within 20 days, as well as prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father), make a pilgrimage to a Holy Door. Pope Francis has specifically called families to experience the Father’s mercy in making this trip together, along with preparing themselves spiritually for it.

A plenary indulgence is granted to all faithful who, upon meeting the usual requirements (Sacramental Confession and reception of Holy Communion within 20 days, as well as prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father), make a pilgrimage to a Holy Door. Pope Francis has specifically called families to experience the Father’s mercy in making this trip together, along with preparing themselves spiritually for it.


Day Nine – Holy Families

Reflection: “Having come into the world, into the heart of a family, God shows that this institution is a sure path on which to encounter and come to know him…Hence one of the greatest services that we Christians can render our fellow human beings is to offer them our serene and unhesitating witness as a family founded on the marriage of a man and a woman…I ask God that in your homes you may always breathe this love of total self-giving and faithfulness which Jesus brought to the world with his birth, nurturing and strengthening it with daily prayer, the constant practice of the virtues, reciprocal understanding and mutual respect. I then encourage you so that, trusting in the motherly intercession of Mary Most Holy, Queen of Families, and under the powerful protection of St Joseph, her spouse, you may dedicate yourselves tirelessly to this beautiful mission which the Lord has placed in your hands” (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Angelus, Dec. 27, 2009).

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace to be witnesses of love and mercy in our world. Help us to stay faithful to God and to love him above all else. Lord Jesus Christ…[see Novena Prayer]

Activities:

  • Make a pilgrimage to a Holy Door in the Diocese of New Ulm either at Cathedral or Schoenstatt-on-the-Lake.
  • Attend the Jubilee of Families at Cathedral on January 3 (10:00 AM).
  • Find a service or charitable project that you can do as a family.
  • Forgive those family members who have hurt you and say you are sorry to those you have hurt.