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Harrisburg conference asks faith communities to ‘reimagine’ families

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Catholic News Service

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. — In a society where many consider marriage vows to be contrary to human freedom, the “self-aholic” lifestyle leads to incalculable unhappiness, Harrisburg Bishop Ronald W. Gainer told some 400 Christian leaders and ministers.

Ultimately the human heart, created by God, thirsts to give and receive love, he said. Read more »

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Loving families are key to bringing joy, mercy to world, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis urges families to discover God’s love and be generous, forgiving, patient, helpful and respectful.

This is a promotional image for World Meeting of Families to be held Aug. 21-26, 2018, in Dublin. The theme of the meeting is "The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World." (CNS illustration/World Meeting of Families)

This is a promotional image for World Meeting of Families to be held Aug. 21-26, 2018, in Dublin. The theme of the meeting is “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.” (CNS illustration/World Meeting of Families)

Family life will be better if people use the words “please,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry” every day, he said, and the world will be a better place if the church reaches out to the imperfect and the wounded.

The pope’s reflection was part of a letter to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, which is helping plan the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Aug. 21-26, 2018. The Vatican released the text of the pope’s letter March 30.

When asked about the pope’s plans to attend the event next year, Cardinal Farrell told reporters at a Vatican news conference, “We hope. I can’t say absolutely” since it depends on the pope’s schedule, but the pope has expressed his desire to go.

The letter was meant to help Catholic families and parishes around the world prepare for the gathering, which will focus on the theme, “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.” The pope said he hoped the event would help families reflect on and share his apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia.”

“Does the Gospel continue to be a joy for the world? And also, does the family continue to be good news for today’s world?” the pope asked.

The answer is, “yes,” he said, because God’s love is his “yes” to all of creation and a ‘“’yes’ to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases; it is God’s ‘yes’ and his commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love.”

“Only starting from love can the family manifest, spread and regenerate God’s love in the world. Without love, we cannot live as children of God, as couples, parents and brothers,” he said.

Making sure family life is “based on love, for love and in love” means “giving oneself, forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, respecting. How much better family life would be if every day we lived according to the words, ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘I’m sorry.’”

Every day, people experience fragility and weakness, Pope Francis said. All families and pastors need humility so they will become better disciples and teachers, better at helping and being helped, and able to accompany and embrace all people of goodwill.

“I dream of an outbound church, not a self-referential one, a church that does not pass by far from man’s wounds, a merciful church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as love, which is mercy,” he said.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin told reporters that the pope’s letter shows the clear, central role families have in the pope’s great dream of renewal of the church and society.

“The family is called to be a place of encounter with that divine mercy which heals and liberates,” he said. The family is where spouses learn to love “not in vague romantic terms but in terms of their everyday realities and difficulties.”

“The pope’s vision of the mission of the family does not attempt to hide the fact that families experience challenges, weakness, fragility and even breakdown,” the archbishop said. “Families need a church which is with them, accompanying them in a process of discernment and integration though helping them to respond with a ‘yes’ to the divine love.”

Happy, loving families should be recognized and be a resource for the renewal of the church and world, he said.

But the church, Archbishop Martin said, also must be “a place where those who have failed can experience not harsh judgment, but the strong embrace of the Lord which can lift them up to begin again to realize their own dream even if only imperfectly.”

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Pope holds Christmas audience with Vatican employees, families

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — While exchanging gifts for Christmas is a beautiful tradition, Pope Francis said, do not forget the one and only real gift people will ever receive is God’s gift to humanity, his son, Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis holds a child as he arrives to lead a special audience with Vatican workers Dec. 22 in Paul VI hall. While exchanging gifts for Christmas is a beautiful tradition, Pope Francis said, do not forget the one and only real gift people will ever receive is God's gift to humanity -- his son, Jesus Christ. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

Pope Francis holds a child as he arrives to lead a special audience with Vatican workers Dec. 22 in Paul VI hall. While exchanging gifts for Christmas is a beautiful tradition, Pope Francis said, do not forget the one and only real gift people will ever receive is God’s gift to humanity — his son, Jesus Christ. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

Also be sure to thank God for the gift of employment and pray for all those who are jobless or experience injustice and exploitation at work, he told Vatican employees during a special audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall Dec. 22.

As Christmas carols in multiple languages played over the public announcement system, many children offered small gifts or notes to the pope, who celebrated his 80th birthday Dec. 17. Some people wore colorful Christmas sweaters, or others, including one small baby, had on red Santa Claus hats.

Multiple generations were present, with employees allowed to bring their parents, grandparents, children and newborns. Families whose members had special needs were seated in the front and were each greeted personally by the pope after the audience. The pope’s chief bodyguard, Domenico Giani, alternated between providing security and doing cellphone-camera duty when he obliged people’s requests to take their picture with the pope.

The pope continued a tradition he began in 2014 of inviting people who work at the Vatican, along with their family members and loved ones, to receive pre-Christmas greetings. The now-annual meeting follows a longer-held tradition of the pope meeting with members of the Roman Curia, the church’s central administrative offices, as well as cardinals living in Rome and members of the papal household.

Pope Francis thanked the Vatican employees, most of them laypeople, for their hard work and dedication, recognizing that the small size of Vatican City often made coordination and cooperation a lot easier.

“We always have to thank God” for the gift of employment, he said, which is important for an individual’s well-being and entire families, he said.

He then asked for prayers for all those around the world, “who do not have work, or else, who often do jobs that are inappropriate, poorly paid or harmful to one’s health.”

The pope requested that everyone, according to their responsibilities, make sure jobs respected people’s dignity and their families and followed the Catholic Church’s social teaching.

The Vatican, above all, he said, must follow these Gospel guidelines, which also meant doing nothing deceitful or illegal in its employment arrangements — “nothing under the table.”

 

Follow Glatz on Twitter: @carolglatz.

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Mercy Friday — Pope Francis visits with former priests and their families

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Nearing the end of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis paid a visit to seven families formed by men who left the priesthood to marry. The Vatican said the visit was a sign that God loves and is merciful to everyone experiencing difficulty.

Nearing the end of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis paid a visit to seven families formed by men who left the priesthood to marry. “The Holy Father wanted to offer a sign of closeness and affection to these young men who made a choice that often was not shared by their fellow priests and families,” the Vatican said Nov. 11. (CNS file/L'Osservatore Romano via EPA)

Nearing the end of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis paid a visit to seven families formed by men who left the priesthood to marry. “The Holy Father wanted to offer a sign of closeness and affection to these young men who made a choice that often was not shared by their fellow priests and families,” the Vatican said Nov. 11. (CNS file/L’Osservatore Romano via EPA)

“The Holy Father wanted to offer a sign of closeness and affection to these young men who made a choice that often was not shared by their fellow priests and families,” the Vatican said in a statement about the pope’s visit Nov. 11.

The visit was part of the “Mercy Friday” initiative Pope Francis began in December for the Holy Year, which ends Nov. 20. Almost every month throughout the year, the pope visited a group of people — people recovering from addiction, women rescued from prostitution, infants in a hospital neonatal unit — as his own expression of the corporal works of mercy.

The destinations were not announced in advance and journalists were not invited.

Traveling to an apartment in the Ponte di Nona area on the far eastern edge of Rome, the pope met the families of the former priests. Four of the men had been priests in Rome. A former priest from Madrid and a former priest from Latin America, both now living with their new families in Rome, also were in attendance as was a visiting former priest from Sicily.

After serving in parishes, the Vatican said, “solitude, incomprehension and tiredness because of the great requirement of pastoral responsibility put in crisis their initial choice of priesthood.” The crises were followed by “months and years of uncertainty and doubts that in many cases led them to believe they had made the wrong choice with priesthood. So they decided to leave the priesthood and form a family.”

Pope Francis entered the apartment and was greeted by the priests’ children, who embraced him. The adults, the Vatican said, “could not hide their emotion.”

The former priests and their families did not feel judged by the pope, the Vatican statement said, but felt his closeness and affection. He listened to their stories and paid particular attention to the concerns they raised about “juridical procedures,” apparently in reference to the process of releasing a priest from his priestly promises.

Pope Francis’ “paternal words reassured every one,” the Vatican said. “In this way, once again, Pope Francis intended to give a sign of mercy to those who live in a situation of spiritual and material difficulty, showing the obligation to ensure no one feels deprived of the love and solidarity” of the church’s pastors.

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‘A sword has pierced heart of our city’, says Orlando bishop after shooting

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Bishop John G. Noonan urged people of faith “to turn their hearts and souls” to God and pray for the victims, the families and first responders following the worst mass shooting in U.S. history June 12.

“A sword has pierced the heart of our city,” he said in a statement.

People hold hands in a circle during a June 12 vigil in an Orlando, Fla., park following a mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in that city earlier that morning. (CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters)

People hold hands in a circle during a June 12 vigil in an Orlando, Fla., park following a mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in that city earlier that morning. (CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters)

“The healing power of Jesus goes beyond our physical wounds but touches every level of our humanity: physical, emotional, social, spiritual,” he said. “Jesus calls us to remain fervent in our protection of life and human dignity and to pray unceasingly for peace in our world.”

The shooting rampage at a crowded nightclub in Orlando left 50 people dead, including the gunman, and 53 wounded.

Police said a lone gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, opened fire inside the Pulse club in Orlando in the early morning hours. New reports said that Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group, died in a gun battle with SWAT team members.

Across the nation, reaction from church and community leaders was swift, and in cities large and small, people organized candlelit vigils for the victims and their families the night of the shooting.

“Waking up to the unspeakable violence in Orlando reminds us of how precious human life is,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Our prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this terrible act,” he said in a statement June 12. “The merciful love of Christ calls us to solidarity with the suffering and to ever greater resolve in protecting the life and dignity of every person.”

“Our prayers and hearts are with the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, their families and our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” said Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich.

In Orlando, priests, deacons and counselors from the Diocese of Orlando and Catholic Charities of Central Florida were serving at an aid center established by city officials.

Throughout the day June 12, church personnel were helping victims and families “on the front lines of this tragedy,” Bishop Noonan said. “They are offering God’s love and mercy to those who are facing unimaginable sorrow. They will remain vigilant and responsive to the needs of our hurting brothers and sisters.”

The bishop also asked all parishes in the nine-county diocese in central Florida to include prayer intentions during Sunday Masses.

“Today’s prayers have been offered for victims of violence and acts of terror … for their families and friends … and all those affected by such acts against God’s love,” Bishop Noonan said. “We pray for the people of the city of Orlando that God’s mercy and love will be upon us as we seek healing and consolation.”

Bishop Noonan planned to lead an evening prayer vigil for the community, called a “Vigil to Dry Tears,” at St. James Cathedral in Orlando June 13.

He said the Catholic Church “recognizes the affliction brought to our city, our families and our friends” by “this massive assault on the dignity of human life. … I hope this opportunity to join each other in prayer will bring about an outpouring of the mercy of God within the heart of our community.”

In his statement, Archbishop Cupich expressed gratitude to the first responders and civilians at the scene of the shooting. They “heroically put themselves in harm’s way, providing an enduring reminder of what compassion and bravery look like — even in the face of such horror and danger,” he said.

“In response to hatred, we are called to sow love,” he added. “In response to violence, peace. And, in response to intolerance, tolerance.”

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Families must open home to God or selfishness will reign, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Families need to open their doors to God and his love or they will harbor an individualism that endangers peace and joy, Pope Francis said on the feast of the Holy Family.

Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 27. (CNS photo/Ettore Ferrari, EPA)

Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 27. (CNS photo/Ettore Ferrari, EPA)

Recognizing and encouraging the importance of strong and unified families is especially needed today when “the family is subjected to misunderstanding and difficulties of various kinds, which weaken it,” he said Dec. 27 before praying the Angelus with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Marking the Jubilee of Families during the Holy Year of Mercy, the pope dedicated a morning Mass and his noon Angelus address to the example and witness of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The day’s Gospel reading “invites families to welcome the light of hope originating from the house of Nazareth,” he said in remarks before the Angelus.

The Holy Family demonstrates what God desires for all families, that they be “a special community of life and love,” he said.

Mary and Joseph teach men and women today to welcome children as a gift of God, to raise them in a way that cooperates with God’s divine plan, and to give “the world, with every child, a new smile.”

“The true joy that’s experienced in the family isn’t something random or accidental. It is a joy that is the result of the deep harmony between people, who savor the beauty of being together, of supporting each other on life’s journey,” he said.

That joy also is always rooted in “God’s presence, his welcoming love, mercy and patience toward everyone. If one doesn’t open the door of the family to God’s presence and his love, the family loses harmony, individualism prevails and joy is extinguished,” he said.

The pope prayed that the Holy Family protect the world’s families so that they may live in “serenity and joy, justice and peace.”

Earlier in the day, the pope celebrated a special Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica dedicated to families.

In his homily, he said the Holy Family show the importance of prayer, sacred Scripture, worship and praising God together as a family.

The pope suggested mothers and fathers bless their children at the start and end of each day, by making the sign of the cross on their children’s foreheads like they did at their baptism. “Bless them, that is, entrust them to the Lord,” he said, “so that he can be their protection and support throughout the day.”

It’s also important families pray before meals, thanking God “for these gifts and to learn how to share what we have received with those in greater need.”

Family life is a shared journey of ups and downs, and mistakes can become occasions for forgiveness and growth, the pope said.

“In the Year of Mercy, every Christian family can become a privileged place on this pilgrimage for experiencing the joy of forgiveness,” he said.

“Forgiveness is the essence of the love which can understand the mistakes and mend them,” he said. In fact, “how miserable we would be if God did not forgive us.”

That is why people learn how to forgive starting in the family, he said, because it is in the family that people can be sure they are understood and supported no matter what mistakes are made.

“Let us not lose confidence in the family,” he said, since it is “beautiful when we can always open our hearts to one another, and hide nothing. Where there is love, there is also understanding and forgiveness.”

Pope Francis also focused on the importance of forgiveness the previous day, Dec. 26, the feast of St. Stephen, who is remembered as the first Christian martyr.

Like Christ forgave those who crucified him, Stephen forgave those who stoned him to death, the pope said before reciting the Angelus.

A true witness of Christ is someone who acts just like Jesus, someone “who prays, loves, gives, but above all who forgives, which, just like the word says, is the highest expression of giving.”

“If we want to grow in the faith, first and foremost, it’s necessary to receive God’s forgiveness; to encounter the father, who is ready to forgive everything and always.”

“We must never tire of asking for divine forgiveness because only when we are forgiven, when we feel forgiven, we learn to forgive.”

It’s not easy to imitate Christ and forgive the small or significant wrongs and injustices experienced in life, the pope said. But like Christ and St. Stephen, it can be done starting with prayer and entrusting the person who has done wrong to God’s mercy, he said.

“One then discovers that this internal struggle to forgive is cleansed of evil and that prayer and love free us from the internal chains of rancor.”

The pope said, “It is so terrible to live with rancor” so people should use every day as an opportunity to “practice forgiveness.” That way people will become more merciful and “we will overcome evil with good, transforming hatred into love” and making the world more pure.

The pope also asked people pray for all those being persecuted for their faith. “our many martyrs of today” who are “unfortunately very many.”

 

Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz.

 

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Australian archbishop at synod looks for ‘new pastoral creativity,’ not change in doctrine

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — While church doctrine must stay unchanged, an Australian archbishop expressed his hope that the Synod of Bishops will the lead the church to a genuine pastoral approach using a new language of mercy toward families, particularly those in difficult situations.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, arrives for a session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 14. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, arrives for a session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 14. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Speaking at a Vatican news conference Oct. 19, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane said he was concerned that an “all-or-nothing” approach tended to dominate discussions before and, at times, during the synod. Between that approach, he said, there exists a “vast territory that calls us to a new kind of pastoral creativity.”

The Australian archbishop, along with Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem and Italian Bishop Enrico Solmi of Parma, spoke following the morning session of the synod’s small working groups.

On the issue of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, the prelates said that while the church’s doctrine is clear that they cannot receive Communion, it remains a delicate subject that cannot always be generalized and must be seen in a case-by-case basis.

“In the case of divorce and remarriage, we’re always dealing with sin, there’s no news in saying that; the church has traditionally spoken of the second union as adulterous,” Archbishop Coleridge said. “But at the same time, not every case is the same, and that is where a pastoral approach needs to take account of the difference from situation to situation.”

The archbishop said a couple in a second union that is “enduring and stable and loving” is not the same “as a couple skulking off to a hotel room for a wicked weekend.”

He said the term “‘adulterous’ is perhaps too sweeping,” and that while defining the sin is “important, but in another sense it doesn’t say enough. And I think what a pastoral approach requires is that we actually enter into what the synod is calling a genuine pastoral dialogue or discernment with these couples.”

Archbishop Coleridge emphasized that the ministry toward families in irregular unions requires “a genuine pastoral dialogue of discernment,” which begins with bishops listening to them. While the framework and direction of this dialogue is church teaching, the archbishop said that the church is also called to reach out to those who feel alienated.

“What really worries me as a pastor is that a lot of these people don’t come to me or the church,” he said. “They are seriously alienated and feel seriously excluded. So the question is not what do we do when they come to us but how can I/we go to them and begin that process of dialogue that starts with a kind of listening.”

The archbishop expressed his hope that “the teaching of the church in these areas will remain intact” and that a genuinely new pastoral approach with a whole new language, particularly for those who no longer understand the distinction of “hate the sin, love the sinner,” is needed. The shifts in today’s culture, he said, create major problems in communication.

“A pastoral approach is relentlessly geared to the facts. Otherwise we indulge in this discourse, which is beautiful in itself, self-contained, but does not put down roots in the soil of human experience,” he said.

The archbishop said one of the questions that he and the members of the synod are trying to answer is if there is another way of explaining the church’s doctrine, particularly on the indissolubility of marriage and the distinction of homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered.”

While acknowledging that those two examples are understood perfectly once one knows their background, the reality is that most people “haven’t got a clue what the background is” and that those in today’s culture who identify themselves through their sexuality often feel alienated and excluded.

Archbishop Coleridge downplayed media speculation of a substantial change in church doctrine regarding such issues as Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, homosexuality or cohabitation, affirming that on the basis of the discussions of the working groups and interventions, “there is no groundswell of support for the change of church teaching.”

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Cardinal O’Malley and Rick Warren call on families to be missionary disciples

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Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — Two well-known Christian preachers agreed: Joy in family life is among the most powerful tools to take Jesus to others.

The last keynote of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia took a tag-team approach, when Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston and evangelical pastor Rick Warren took to the stage Sept. 25 and urged families to answer their missionary call. Read more »

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Pope: Celebrations, including Mass, are essential for family life

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Catholic News Service

 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Families need moments of rest and celebration, time for standing back and recognizing the gifts of God and how well they have developed, Pope Francis said.

Celebrations are times “to enjoy that which cannot be produced or consumed, that cannot be bought or sold,” the pope said Aug. 12 at his weekly general audience. Read more »

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Families need prayers, mercy, courage, including from synod, pope says

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Catholic News Service

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador — Even if a pastoral proposal for helping a Catholic family with problems seems scandalous at first, it is possible God could use that proposal to bring healing and holiness, Pope Francis said.

Encouraging and celebrating family life during a Mass July 6 in Guayaquil, Pope Francis asked people to pray for the October Synod of Bishops on the family, and he tied the synod to the Jubilee of Mercy, a yearlong celebration that will begin in December.

A man holds an image of Pope Francis as he waits for the start of the pope's Mass in Los Samanes Park in Guayaquil, Ecuador, July 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A man holds an image of Pope Francis as he waits for the start of the pope’s Mass in Los Samanes Park in Guayaquil, Ecuador, July 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The synod will be a time for the church to “deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families in our time,” the pope said.

Celebrating Mass with as many as 1 million people gathered under the hot sun in Los Samanes Park, Pope Francis asked them “to pray fervently for this intention, so that Christ can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous or threatening, and turn it —by making it part of his ‘hour’ — into a miracle. Families today need this miracle!”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Pope Francis was not referring to any specific proposal discussed in anticipation of the synod; one of the most common, and most debated pastoral suggestions, was to develop a process or “penitential path” for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion but have not received an annulment.

The pope, Father Lombardi said, hopes the synod “will find a way to help people move from a situation of sin to a situation of grace.”

Pope Francis acknowledged the suffering and hope of young people who do not experience happiness and love at home, the “many women, sad and lonely,” who wonder how their love “slipped away,” and the elderly who feel cast aside.

In a family, “no one is rejected; all have the same value,” he said, telling the crowd that when he asked his own mother which of her five children she loved best, she would say that they were like her five fingers: all were important and if one finger was hurt, the pain would be the same as if another finger was hurt.

The Gospel reading at the Mass recounted the story of the wedding feast at Cana where the wine ran out and Mary asked Jesus to do something about it. Jesus turned water into wine.

Despite the 90-degree heat, the 78-year-old pope was upbeat during the Mass and confident — even cheerful and playful — in his homily about the family.

The joy of the wedding feast at Cana, he said, began when Mary was attentive to the needs of others “and acted sensibly and courageously.”

“Mary is not a demanding mother, a mother-in-law who revels in our lack of experience, our mistakes and the things we forget to do,” he said. “Mary is a mother. She is there, attentive and concerned.”

As with the guests at the Cana wedding, who were offered the finest wine at the end of the celebration, Pope Francis insisted, so, too, for families today “the richest, deepest and most beautiful things are yet to come.”

“The time is coming when we will taste love daily, when our children will come to appreciate the home we share and our elderly will be present each day in the joys of life,” he said. “The finest of wines will come for every person who stakes everything on love.”

Pope Francis said he knows “all the variables and statistics which say otherwise,” but “the best wine is yet to come for those who today feel hopelessly lost.”

Speeding up his delivery and increasing his volume, the pope made “the best wine is yet to come” into a litany. “Say it until you are convinced of it,” he told the crowd. “The best wine is yet to come.”

“Whisper it to the hopeless and the loveless,” the pope urged.

The whole story of God’s involvement with humanity, he said, demonstrates that he always seeks out those on the margins of society, “those who have run out of wine, those who drink only of discouragement.”

Jesus, he said, will provide flasks of the finest wine “for those who, for whatever reason, feel that all their jars have been broken.”

Strong families, he said, help build strong individuals and strong societies. They are the place where “our hearts find rest in strong, fruitful and joyful love.” Families teach people to be attentive to the needs of others and to place those needs ahead of one’s own.

“Service is the sign of true love,” he said.

When the church asks governments to assist families, he said, it is not asking for “alms,” but rather payment of the “social debt” societies owe to families.

 

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