As a gift to each family in our Parish we have a replica of the Icon of the Holy Family for you to take home with you. It is hoped that as you focus on this beautiful image of the Holy Family you will join in gathering as a family unit to pray the Family Prayer. We also pray this Prayer at all our Masses in all our Parish Churches each day.
This is a great opportunity to grow in our prayer as families at home, as a Parish Family
and with the Church Family, joining as one voice as the Family of God each day.
About this Icon
The icon of the Holy Family was specially commissioned by WMOF2018, written by iconographer Mihai Cucu, and assisted by the Redemptoristine Sisters of the Monastery of St Alphonsus, Iona Road, Dublin, as part of their on-going prayer for families. The icon was unveiled and anointed on the 21 August 2017 at Knock, launching a year of preparation for the World Meeting of Families. This icon takes the form of a triptych which looks, from the outside, somewhat like a house with front doors. On these outside doors, we are presented with the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, who carry with them the desire of God to protect. Their heads are bowed in adoration and service of God, the Holy One. On the base is the
inscription Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), the title of Pope Francis’ post-Synodal exhortation on love in the family.
When the doors of this icon are opened we see in the centre the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph seated at table, sharing a meal and sharing their Faith. Their Faith was celebrated in their home. It is in our home that the reality of Emmanuel ‘God-with-us’ is communicated and passed on to future generations.
Their gathering around the table is reminiscent of the Three Angels in the famous 15th-Century Icon of the Holy Trinity by Andrei Rublev. Christian Marriage is sometimes compared with the Holy Trinity, as a communion of the giving and receiving of love that is life-giving. Indeed, the family is called to be the “living icon” of the Most Holy Trinity.
Similarly to the Trinity Icon, the Holy Family have a place at their table for us. They invite us to join them. They are no strangers to the trials of family life. They themselves have been refugees, fleeing the violence of Herod. They have known great anxiety. Hence the
radishes and bitter herbs of the Passover meal represent the sorrows and trials of the people of Israel in their slavery also represent for us the trials and sacrifices of patience and love experienced in every family. The presence of the unleavened bread and cup of wine on their table call to mind the Eucharist where Christ nourishes us. Flanking the Holy Family icon are those two Gospel narratives: the Raising of Jairus’ Daughter and the Wedding Feast of Cana. In these passages in the Gospels we see Jesus’ deep compassion and concern for marriage and for those living with burdens in their family life.
An icon is not like a photograph, nor is it a portrait. It is an image which invites us to prayer. It is to be hoped that the Icon will invite people to prayer while we prepare our hearts for the World Meeting of Families in August 2018.