THE POPES AND THE ASSOCIATION OF THE HOLY FAMILY
On 7 June, 1910, Saint Pius X, extended his apostolic blessing to all the established groups of families involved with the MHV, and personally blessed a newly designed portable chapel for the journeying Holy Family Statue. At the same time, the Holy Father praised the ever increasing efforts of the religious Sons of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and appointed these religious as the permanent "directors" and"custodians" of this particular form of devotion to the Holy Family of Nazareth.
On 31 July, 1916, Pope Benedict XV also honored the religious Sons of the Holy Family with a personal letter, in which the Holy Father imparted His apostolic blessing to all the Institute's members for the continued success of the MHV, which He himself considered to be not only a wonderful undertaking, but also -to use His own words- "the pearl of all devotions."
In a somewhat similar fashion, on 22 December, 1922, Pope Pius XI issued His own declaration, stating that "I am most ardently looking forward to when all families will be patterning themselves after the model of the Holy Family of Nazareth".
The MHV expanded very rapidly, extending through Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Holland and Belgium. In 1920, the first missionary Sons of the Holy Family brought it with them to the new world of America, establishing themselves first in the United States and then in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the MHV, Pope Pius XII, in a letter dated 2 August, 1957, to the then Superior General of the Sons of the Holy Family, Fr. Martin Millet, SF, likewise extended His apostolic blessing to the members of the institute for their efforts to re-christianize the family and the home through the devotion and imitation of the Holy Family, emphasizing that "all families receiving into their homes the Pilgrim Statue of the Holy Family should endeavor to pattern their own family lives after that of the House of Nazareth".
On 31 January, Pope John XXIII, during a private audience with the religious Institute's newly elected Superior General, Fr. Magin Morera, SF., and the Secretary General of the Holy Family Association, granted his apostolic blessing to all the groups of families consecrated to the Holy Family and involved with MHV , firmly stating that His heartfelt prayer and hope was for each Christian family to become a holy family and each home a new Nazareth for the good of the Church and the salvation of the world.
More recently, Pope Paul VI, while visiting Israel, delivered a homily in the Church of the Annunciation, in Nazareth, specifically asking that the Holy Family instruct Christian families in what it means "to be a family" , in what their "fellowship of life and love" is really all about, and in appreciating and, therefore, upholding the sacred and unbreakable bond of marriage and of the family.
On 22 November, 1981, Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Exhortation on the Community of the Family, invoked the protection and continued guidance of the Holy Family on all the families of the world, hopeful that each individual family, in responding to its vocation to love and service of the life, would in time identify itself as a first school of human, social, and Christian values, as a church in miniature of original liturgical and religious experience, and as a cradle of wholeness and holiness of life and love.
In this way the Christian family would be prepared and able to fulfill its mission in the church and in the world.