Pope: with Amoris laetitia in hand, families and pastors unite for missionary conversion

A job that requires patience and tenderness, Francisco said, especially given the challenges posed by the pandemic. In a video message that opened the Forum’s work “Where are we with Amoris laetitia?” to around 350 people from all over the world, the Pope spoke of the co-responsibility of Churches and spouses to spread the love of God in the homes, cooperating “in a fruitful way in the care and protection of the ‘domestic Churches’” that will “build the families of the tomorrow”.

Andressa Collet – Vatican News

Listen to the report with the voice of the Pope and share

A video message from the Pope opened the activities of a special program dedicated to deepening strategies for the pastoral application of Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage, the family and children. O Forum “Where are we with Amoris laetitia?” began this Wednesday (9) and brings together – in online mode for four days – about 350 people from all over the world who work with family ministry, representing 70 Episcopal Conferences and more than 30 associations and international movements. The event, which plans to create a network of collaboration to “announce the Gospel of the family more effectively, responding to the signs of the times”, as the Pontiff observed, is promoted by Department for the Laity, Family and Life.

Where are we with Amoris laetitia?

The great public, made up of pastors and lay people who work in different realities of the world, closely followed the words of Pope Francis. At the beginning of the message, there was an invitation to listen to “the concrete needs of families” in mutual help and dialogue from the Holy See:

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“The question you ask – ‘Where are we with the application of Amoris laetitia?’ – It seeks to encourage people to practice fruitful ecclesial discernment on the style and purposes of family ministry in the perspective of the new evangelization. The Exhortation Amoris laetitia is the fruit of a profound synodal reflection on marriage and the family and, as such, requires patient work of implementation and a missionary conversion.”

The family that works with the pastorals

A work of synodal path to be developed in practice in the local Churches through “cooperation, sharing of responsibilities, capacity for discernment and availability to be close to families”, anticipated Francis, especially in the midst of the difficulties imposed by the pandemic. In this context and through active listening by the Church, the family is also invited to get involved in the evangelization journey, being “a valid witness” to spread “seeds of communion among peoples”:

“To bring God’s love to families and young people, who will build the families of tomorrow, we need the help of their own families, their concrete experience of life and communion. We need spouses alongside pastors to walk with other families, to help the weakest, to announce that, even in difficulties, Christ is present in the Sacrament of Matrimony to give tenderness, patience and hope to everyone, in every situation of life . How important it is for young people to see with their own eyes the love of Christ alive and present in the love of spouses, who testify with their concrete lives that love is always possible!”

The mission of the “Domestic Church”

Married couples, then, have “a special mission in building the Church,” noted the Pope in the video message:

“The family is a ‘domestic church’, a place where the sacramental presence of Christ works between spouses and between parents and children. In this sense, ‘the love lived in the family is a permanent force for the life of the Church’, constantly enriched by the life of all the domestic Churches. Therefore, by virtue of the Sacrament of Matrimony, the whole family becomes, for all intents and purposes, a good for the Church.”

A “co-responsibility” that is lived between spouses and ordained ministers who must “cooperate fruitfully in the care and protection of ‘domestic churches’”. The Pope warned, however, that these married couples need “to be called” by the pastors of the Church, in a “spirit of ecclesial communion” and giving the necessary space to work together in “building the Church as a ‘family of families'” and “to advance on the path of pastoral and missionary conversion”.

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The joy vamos releas

For this “renewed pastoral impulse” to happen with creativity, Francis urged us to take the Amoris laetitia exhortation in hand and identify the concrete priorities of each local Church, according to the needs that ended up changing because of the pandemic. There are many current challenges facing families, the Pope said: from ideological pressures, relational problems, material and spiritual poverty to “a great loneliness due to the difficulty of perceiving God in one’s life”.

The formation of lay people, then, the Pontiff also observed, needs to receive special attention. It is about getting deeper into “preparation for marriage, accompanying young married couples”, in addition to getting closer to the elderly and wounded families, for example. A whole journey so that “they can better understand the importance of their ecclesial commitment, that is, the meaning of the mission that comes from being a spouse and family”:

“Many families are not aware of the great gift they received in the Sacrament, an effective sign of the presence of Christ that accompanies every moment of their lives. When a family fully discovers this gift, it feels the desire to share it with other families because the joy of meeting the Lord tends to spread and generate another communion; is naturally missionary.”

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