Pope writes letter to Catholic families worldwide
Prayers requested in advance of October Synod
February 26, 2014
“Dear families, With this letter, I wish, as it were, to come into your homes to speak about an event which will take place at the Vatican this coming October. It is the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is being convened to discuss the theme of “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.”
In his letter, which was translated into 8 languages including Arabic, German and Polish, Francis recalled that “the Church is called to proclaim the Gospel by confronting the new and urgent pastoral needs facing the family.”
Francis defined the next Synod as an “important meeting” which “will involve all the People of God – bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful of the particular Churches of the entire world – all of whom are actively participating in preparations for the meeting through practical suggestions and the crucial support of prayer.”
Francis asks families to pray for the meeting in the Vatican, emphasising that it “is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church.”
“I ask you, therefore, to pray intensely to the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task. As you know, this Extraordinary Synodal Assembly will be followed a year later by the Ordinary Assembly, which will also have the family as its theme. In that context, there will also be the World Meeting of Families due to take place in Philadelphia in September 2015,” the Pope goes on to say.
“May we all, then, pray together so that through these events the Church will undertake a true journey of discernment and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light and strength that comes from the Gospel.”
“In your journey as a family, you share so many beautiful moments: meals, rest, housework, leisure, prayer, trips and pilgrimages, and times of mutual support… Nevertheless, if there is no love then there is no joy, and authentic love comes to us from Jesus. He offers us his word, which illuminates our path; he gives us the Bread of life which sustains us on our journey,” Francis told families.
“Dear families, your prayer for the Synod of Bishops will be a precious treasure which enriches the Church. I thank you, and I ask you to pray also for me, so that I may serve the People of God in truth and in love,” he concludes.
The President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Mgr. Vincenzo Paglia, stated: “Never before has the family been in the heart and mind of the Church as much as in the past few months” and Francis “wants to involve families in the synodal journey.”
Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa
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