Pastor’s Corner for the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph, Year B, by Fr. Bruce Botha SJ

For the gift of diversity in the Church

Let us pray that the Spirit help us recognize the gift of different charisms within the Christian community, and to discover the richness of different ritual traditions in the heart of the Catholic Church.


The prayer intention of Pope Francis for January is about diversity within the Church, about helping us recognise that we are blessed with many different callings, and many ways of ritual celebration. This diversity is a blessing and not a curse. No one is just like everyone else, no family identical to anyone else’s. The European “normal” is a nuclear family of father, mother, and child. In many other cultures “normal” families look different. In the time of AIDS families were headed by grandmothers looking after all her children or an elder sibling looking after their younger siblings. Some families consist of two fathers or two mothers with their children, or a single parent with their children. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph consisted of a woman who got pregnant out of wedlock, who married a man who was not the father of the child, but who loved the child as though it were his own. While this may not fit everyone’s definition of “normal”, I think it sounds pretty wonderful to me.


What is common about all these different ways of being family is that they love and care for each other, and that life is welcomed in all its wonderful diversity. For the longest time the parish community of Holy Trinity has tried to make welcome everyone who has come to her door, regardless of gender, nationality, age, language, and orientation. We as the parish of Holy Trinity model for other churches and for the families who make up our Church what it means to be a loving, accepting and supportive family, because that’s how we treat one another. That is a great blessing that we should give God thanks for as we end this year, it is a blessing that we should ask the Lord to strengthen in us as enter a new year.


I would like to wish you all a blessed 2024. May your New Year be filled with God’s abundant grace and blessings. May God give you health of mind and body, success in your work and studies, and peace in your home and your hearts.


Fr Bruce Botha SJ