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HOLY FAMILY, DEVOTION TO THE
Although the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is very prominent in the Gospels, popular devotion to them on a large scale began only in the seventeenth century. General confraternities, on an international scale, were created to promote this devotion. Among modern popes Pius IX in 1847 and Leo XIII in 1892 encouraged these organizations and gave them official approval. A number of religious institutes also came into existence, specially dedicated to the apostolate of helping Christian families survive and prosper through devotion to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. In the new revised liturgy the Sunday within the octave of Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Family, with its own special Mass and Divine Office.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.