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Pope Francis prays for refugee families during Sunday Angelus

On the Sunday after Christmas, Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family with a special message during his Angelus prayer. He drew a parallel between the persecution the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph faced to the situation of thousands of families today, forced to flee their homes and become refugees.

POPE FRANCIS

"Almost every day, the television and newspapers show stories of refugees that flee from hunger, from war, from other grave dangers, in search of security and a dignified life for them and their families.�

As Christians continue celebrating the birth of Jesus into a refugee family over 2000 years ago, the Pope urged them to also think about families today who face those same challenges.

He said that Jesus chose to be born into a refugee family to show that God's love reaches everyone. As a result, he also asked Christians to look out for the people "exiled� within their own families.

POPE FRANCIS

"Let us also think about the 'exiles.' I would call them the 'hidden exiles,' which can be found within the families themselves. The elderly, for example, are often treated as a burden.�

Pope Francis also went further and asked family members to recognize the importance they have within the Church as the main evangelists. He shared the three key words to live a peaceful and joyful life.

POPE FRANCIS

"When a family is not intrusive, they ask for permission. When a family is not selfish, they learn to say thank you. When a family members remembers that he did something bad, and he knows to ask for forgiveness, in that family there is peace and joy.�

Near the end of his remarks, the Pope also recited a special prayer dedicated to the Holy Family. He asked for their intercession to have a successful Synod of Bishops. The Synod, scheduled for the second half of 2014, will focus on the family. He also greeted the families present at St. Peter's Square and those celebrating around the world.

PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

in you we contemplate

the splendour of true love,

to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

grant that our families too

may be places of communion and prayer,

authentic schools of the Gospel

and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

may families never again

experience violence, rejection and division:

may all who have been hurt or scandalized

find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

may the approaching Synod of Bishops

make us once more mindful

of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,

and its beauty in Godâ??s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

graciously hear our prayer.

RCA

CTV

-JM

-BN

Up:RCA