Pope Francis to Families: Put Down Your Phones on Holy Family Feast

Pope Francis said that the Holy Family is a model for families today in “following the Gospel, the foundation of holiness in a family,” as they prayed, worked, and communicated with each other.

Pope Francis celebrates his 82nd birthday a day early with young patients of the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary Dec. 16.
Pope Francis celebrates his 82nd birthday a day early with young patients of the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary Dec. 16. (photo: Vatican Media/National Catholic Register)

VATICAN CITY  — On the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged families to get off their cell phones and talk to one another.

“In your family, do you know how to communicate with each other, or are you like those kids at the table -- each one has their own cell phone, chatting? In that table there is a silence as if they were at Mass, but they don't communicate with each other,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address Dec. 29.

“We need to retake communication within the family: parents, children, grandparents and siblings must communicate with each other,” the pope said. “This is your assignment for today for the feast of the Holy Family.”

Pope Francis said that the Holy Family is a model for families today in “following the Gospel, the foundation of holiness in a family,” as they prayed, worked, and communicated with each other.

“The Holy Family of Nazareth represents a choral response to the will of the Father. The three members of this exceptional family help each other to discover and carry out God’s plan,” he said.

“The family is a precious treasure: we must always support and protect it,” the pope said.

The Holy Family was “totally available to God’s will,” he said, providing an example of obedience and openness for families today.

The pope pointed to Mary’s obedience to God at times when she did not fully understand God’s plans for her.

“Mary silently meditates, reflects and worships the divine initiative. Her presence at the foot of the cross consecrates this total availability,” the pope said.

“As for Joseph, the Gospel does not bring us a single word: he does not speak, but acts by obeying,” Pope Francis added.

An example of this was Joseph’s trust in God’s will as he fled with his family to Egypt.

“Under the guidance of God, represented by the Angel, Joseph removes his family from the threats of Herod,” he said. “The Holy Family is thus in solidarity with all the families of the world forced into exile, solidarity with all those who are forced to abandon their land because of repression, violence, war.”

Pope Francis asked for prayers for the victims of a car bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia that killed over 70 people Dec. 28, and expressed his closeness to all family members mourning their loss.

“Let us entrust to Mary, ‘Queen of the family,’ all the families of the world, especially those experiencing suffering or unease, and we invoke her maternal protection on them,” Pope Francis said.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy