As a Canadian, I was delighted to discover Devotion to The Holy Family can be traced back to 17th century Québec when the first bishop of New France, Blessed François de Laval expanded the role of the Confraternity of the Holy Family, an association with roots going back to the very founding of Montréal.
Modern Holy Family Sculpture often focuses on the intimacy and love Joseph and Mary have for their son, Jesus. They also depict Joseph’s protective strength which is something that I really had not considered before looking at these statues.
Catechism of the Catholic Church says this of the Holy Family and the Church:
“Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than ‘the family of God.’ From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers ‘together with all their household’ Acts 11:14. When they were converted, they desired that ‘their whole household’ Acts 16:15,31 should also be saved.
These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world. In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason, the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia Domestica (the Domestic Church).”