The Holy Family: A model for today’s family

The Holy Family: A model for today’s family

By John Sacco and Jennifer Miele

The importance of faith and hope shared by members of a family cannot be overstated, especially when that family finds itself in the midst of challenging times.

Mother Mary

At Holy Family Parish, Latrobe, Father Richard J. Kosisko, Pastor, often takes time to reflect upon the strength and perseverance of Mary as the mother of Jesus.

“To be able to relate — and so many rely on Mary and her role as Mom — and to understand some of the struggles she and the Holy Family had is important. Jesus, at times, was not the easiest child to raise. He made Mary worry,” Father Kosisko said as he described a 12-year-old Jesus who went missing for three days.

Father Richard J. Kosisko, Pastor at Holy Family Church, Latrobe.

After searching everywhere, Mary found him sitting among teachers in the temple, listening and asking them questions.

“We can see Mary as a model. That’s not always easy in the world today. Sometimes we don’t understand the will of God,” Father Kosisko said.

“Look at Mary and the visit of the Three Kings just after the birth of Jesus. The men brought some strange gifts — gold, frankincense and myrrh. She sometimes didn’t understand everything.  But she treasured the things in her heart.”

The Year of Saint Joseph

Pope Francis described St. Joseph as a tender, loving, obedient and accepting father who was courageous and hard-working in the shadows of Jesus’ life.

He declared 2021 the Year of St. Joseph to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church.

“Joseph was considered the great protector of the Holy Family,” Father Kosisko said. “He really took care of them, as we know from sacred Scripture.”

According to Father Kosisko, it is likely Joseph was a carpenter and he taught his craft to Jesus.

“Joseph didn’t fully understand what was ahead, but he trusted in God, knowing he’d be given strength and wisdom to carry on,” he said.

The infant Jesus at the center of the Holy Family

Father Kosisko said understanding the Holy Family begins with the Nativity scene.

“One of the things I reflect upon during the Feast of the Holy Family is how we want
to be described as a family,” he said. “In communities, we may know one family as the ‘loud family,’ or the ‘loner family,” or the family down the street as the ‘holy family,” whose children are out in the community raking leaves or helping others out in some way. I always hope we would be able to describe families that way, one that prays, is forgiving and loves one another.

“The home should be the principal place of catechesis. Unfortunately, many families today allow the Church to fill that role alone. The home of Nazareth, in addition to the local synagogue, would have been the place of instruction for the Christ child. The Holy Family
taught Jesus how to read, and at the start of his public ministry Jesus would read from the scroll and declare the passage to be fulfilled.

“Mary and Joseph would have taught the Christ child how to pray, especially the Shema, and years later Jesus would teach his disciples how to pray with the Our Father.”

Father Kosisko said he encourages people to put themselves in one of the roles when viewing the Nativity —  angels, shepherds, townspeople and others.

“I think all of us can relate in a beautiful way to all the characters, especially blessing the newborn child and the role of the family — especially in difficult times when you need that grace and the light born into the world.”


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