A Catholic Family Day

I suppose it is requisite to wish everyone a happy Family Day, even though, as my own Dad said about ‘Mother’s Day’, every day should be ‘mother’s day’, and every day, in a way, mother’s day. But it is good to set a special day aside to remind of these truths, and the sacrificial love of mothers, and families. mother and family day’.

The origins of this provincial civic holiday go back a ways, to 1990, when it was first instituted in Alberta, then in 2007 in Saskatchewan in 2007. Premier Dalton McGuinty adopted the holiday here, where I live, in Ontario in 2008, to be celebrated on the third Monday of the month of February, coinciding with  President’s Day in the States, originally commemorating Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays (February 22nd and 12th respectively). I suppose there is some connection between Presidents and Families; every president derives from one and, so far, all of them have been husbands and fathers, with the exception of James Buchanan (1857 – 1861), the only presidential bachelor, whose tenure immediately preceded the Civil War. Coincidence, perhaps, but one never knows.

We have no ‘Prime Ministers’ Day’ here in Canada. We do celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday in May, for we are a constitutional monarchy, and she definitely was a family woman, married to Albert for two decades. Even if they were first cousins – which is illicit without an express dispensation – and she apparently hated being pregnant, thought babies were ugly, Queen Victoria in good British style did her familial duty. Their nine children all seemed more or less unscathed.

For our own ‘Family Day’ There is a certain irony in a holiday imposed by a government, many of whose policies actively undermine the traditional family – a man and a woman, united in matrimony, along with their children, the standard to which all other approximations of family life are to be measured. Now, it seems, the ‘family’ is whatever you – or they – make it.

Every ‘holiday’ should be a ‘holy day’, and, regardless of whatever intentions of those in political power, we ourselves may make this so, rejoicing in and giving thanks to God for all the blessings we do have. So here’s to all those Mums, Dads, children joyfully slogging it out in the trenches, raising future generations in a milieu of sacramental love. Pope Saint John Paul II, who wrote much on this more ancient, perfect and primordial of societies, was right when he declared that ‘as the family goes, so goes society‘.

ad multos annos, et gratias vobis!

Sancta Familia, intercedat pro nobis!