WASHINGTON (June 22, 2000) -- The U.S. Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life is encouraging families and parishes across the country to celebrate the Jubilee Day for Families on Thanksgiving Day, November 23.
To assist with local celebrations, the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth has prepared a 20-page resource packet. The packet includes prayers, blessings, activities, and ideas for marking the occasion in parishes and at family gatherings.
The Jubilee Day has two purposes: to celebrate the contributions of families to society and to the Church and to consider the family's call to reflect God's love for all humanity. The theme for the day, "Families Opening the Door to Life and Love," emphasizes that people respond to God's love not just as individuals but as members of a family. The image of an open door speaks about the power of families to nurture their members within the home as well as the Christian service and witness those same members bring to the world just outside their door.
Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell, chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life, said the Committee recommends that the celebration take place on Thanksgiving because this holiday is a significant "holy day" for families.
"In opening the doors on this special day we are reminded of the need to do it every day. And, to the extent we do so, we become more and more what God calls us to be as family--the primary community of life and love," Bishop O'Connell said.
"The resources in this packet offer ways to connect a parish celebration of the Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day with a family's gathering around the table at home for Thanksgiving dinner," said Richard McCord, executive director of the Bishops' Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth. "This Jubilee Day builds on families' natural desires to use this holiday as a time to reflect on God's blessings, to seek reconciliation, and to commit themselves to strengthening family ties," he said. "It's a perfect fit with this holy year of jubilee."
The Jubilee Day for Families is among 34 Jubilee Days listed in a calendar released last year by the U.S. Bishops' Subcommittee on the Jubilee Year 2000.
The Jubilee Day for Families Resource Packet can be ordered for $2 from the Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth by calling 202-541-3040, or e-mail email@example.com. Discounts are available on bulk orders.