Archbishop's Message


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

During a papal audience on the feast of the Holy Family in 2011, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made a very interesting description of the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. He called the Holy Family as ‘A SCHOOL OF PRAYER’.

The Holy Family gives us the true essence and meaning of prayer. Prayer is:

  • To listen
  • To meditate
  • To discern and respond to God’s revelation

These three important dimensions of prayer are beautifully depicted in the life and model of the Holy Family.

Prayer is to listen:

Joseph listened: “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him.” (Matthew 1:24)

And Mary listened too: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” (Luke 1:38)

Prayer is to meditate:

Joseph meditated: “But after he had pondered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream” (Matthew 1:20)

And Mary meditated too: “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

Prayer is to discern and respond to God’s revelation:

“Joseph embraced Mary as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a Son.” (Matthew 1:24-25)

And Mary replied: “Be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38)

From the model of Joseph and Mary, Jesus is inspired to evolve a spiritual way of life: “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” (Luke 2:52)

Pope Paul VI had also in a similar line of thought, earlier described the Holy Family as THE SCHOOL OF NAZARETH. His reflections on the example of the Holy Family have been preserved in the Office of Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours (the breviary) for the Feast of the Holy family. Pope Paul VI says that by choosing to be born in the Holy Family of Nazareth, Jesus, the new Adam re-creates the meaning of family life.

Jesus transforms every family into a school that teaches us how to live in His presence, to see Him at work, the ears to hear His instruction and the hearts to make a place for Him to dwell. The Holy Family is an icon of the domestic Church, which is called to pray together.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, I invite you to open your hearts and families to the SCHOOL OF NAZARETH, that teaches us the foundation of true spirituality. The model of the Holy Family transforms the nature of our family life.

  • Our Families should listen: We need to reduce the noise of materialism, addictions, disagreements, etc to be able to listen to God’s voice like the Holy Family. God continues to speak in many and various ways to His people.
  • Our Families need to meditate: We should take time to reflect on God’s word in our family prayer. By dwelling on the richness of God’s word, we learn the purpose of our lives.
  • Our Families have to discern and respond to God’s revelation: The Holy Family teaches us that the example of the parents will enable the children to learn to respond to God’s revelation and His plan in a manner fitting to Christian discipleship.

May the Holy Family inspire our families and intercede for us to listen, meditate, discern and respond to God’s revelation.


With prayerful wishes,


Most Rev. George Antonysamy

Archbishop of Madras - Mylapore