To celebrate the Schönstatt movement's 100th anniversary, the Pope held a meeting with more than 8,000 members who came to the Vatican from more than 50 countries.
The theme of the event was "The Family as a living proposal.” Some of the pilgrims had a chance to ask Pope Francis some questions. The first was on how to help and support families.
"I think that the Christian family, the family, marriage, has never been attacked as it is now. Directly attacked or assaulted. The preparation for marriage has to come from very far. Supporting couples. Supporting, but always hand in hand and preparing them. Letting them know what they are going to do. Many do not know what they are doing and they marry without knowing what it means.”
They also asked the Pope on the role of the Virgin Mary and the New Evangelization. Pope Francis responded with a little humor.
"A Christian does not have a right to be an orphan. He has a Mother. We have a Mother. An old preacher who was very fiery, spoke on the psychology of orphans and ended his homily saying: "Well, whoever does not want Mary as a Mother will have her as a mother-in-law!”
He also had a message for the youth. He asked them to go out and give witness because that is what will bring people to the faith.
"A Church that doesn't go out is a Church of "exquisite people.” An ecclesial movement that doesn't go out in mission, is a movement of "exquisite people.” And also, instead of looking for sheep to bring, or help or give witness, they are devoted to the little group, combing the sheep. No? They are spiritual hairdressers. No? This is not right.”
Pope Francis also shared his "secret” to be joyful and hopeful. It was an answer that brought a lot of smiles.
"Well, I haven't the faintest idea but it doesn't matter...A little bit due to personality, I would say that sometimes I'm not fully aware, no? I abandon myself, I pray. It never fails, eh? He never fails, He never fails. And I have seen that He is capable, not through me, but through people to make miracles."
The last question was at the same time an offer. How to the help the Pope renew the Church?
"Right here, this is public, that's why I dare to say it, the Curia must be renewed, the Curia is being renewed, the Vatican Bank must be renewed. They are all external renovations. That is what the newspapers are saying. It is interesting that no one speaks of a renewal of the heart. They understand nothing of what it means to renew the Church. That is what holiness is. To renew each and every heart.”
Lastly, Pope Francis said that one of the keys to renewal is to look for the encounter, which is unity, in a world full of misunderstanding.