A Message from Fr Dan on the Feast of the Holy Family:

Published on December 22, 2021

Christmas is the season when we have time to be together, what we might call ‘family time’.

Bro Richard Hendrick OFM Cap has written a beautiful poem about how to enjoy a winter walk in nature and especially in the woods. The following is an extract from that poem and I hope you find it enjoyable:


A Meditation:

When you walk in the woods, do so at their pace. Not yours.

Pause before you enter their embrace, and breathe deep.

Slow down to their ancient pace of root, and branch, and story.

Then, with a bow, enter; and allow their cathedral coolness to enfold you,

and their greened light to anoint you with sylvan sacrament

of stained-glass dappling; and your healing will begin.


Listen long enough and they will teach you their tongue:

words of wood, and weather, and water, united in one song of praise that began

with the first Divinely led step into the dance of inter-breathing

that you have forgotten how to sing until now.


Touching their great slowness, be reborn in their wisdom that promises,

for every Winter a Spring, and roots deep enough to outlast any Summer drought

until Autumn’s coolness comes.

When you walk in the woods, do so at their pace. Not yours.


Each one of us has so many memories of the family we grew up in.

That was our home and there we belonged.

We could not have survived without the care and the love of our parents.

Each of us has a memory of the desperation we felt when we were lost as children. Whether we were left behind in the Church after Mass or wandered off

when our mother was shopping, we never forgot the feeling of being lost.


The Feast of the Holy Family reminds us that Jesus too

was raised in a family just like ours.

He too was lost in the Temple when he was only twelve.


It was Mary and Joseph who created the atmosphere at home

that shaped Jesus’ character. They gave Jesus good values

and from them he learned what was expected of him and what was acceptable.

They formed Jesus well and we are told in the gospel

that he grew up in ‘wisdom, stature and favor’ in the eyes of God and men.


Today’s feast of the Holy Family reminds us of our own particular childhoods.

Our families too were holy and today we remember our fathers and mothers,

brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours who created our family life

and made us the kind of people we became.


From the Ennis Parish Newsletter (Adapted)