Pope writes to families: I dream of a Church that does not pass by mans wounds

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Pope Francis has written a letter for the most important Catholic meeting for families, to be held August 21-26, 2018 in Dublin. In his letter, he speaks about the theme for the meeting stating: 'I dream of an outbound Church, not a self-referential one, a Church that does not pass by far from mans wounds, a merciful Church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as Love, which is Mercy.�

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, from the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, and the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, are the two main organizers for the event. 

Archbishop of Dublin (Ireland)
'In the pope's letter today, he begins by talking about his dream for the Church. Then he says that the family is an important way in which that dream can be realized. He will use this occasion, whether he comes or not, to generate particular reflection on family love and the stability of family life and the role of family in society.�

The organizers say the World Meeting with Families is an opportunity for renovation and to place further importance on premarital preparation and a post-marital community within the Church and address the problems facing families in society today. 

Prefect, Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
'We know that families struggle many times. They worry about their employment; they worry about their children; they worry about their future; they worry about everything. Now is the time when we reflect what this true love that exists between a man and a woman is in the eyes of God, and how that can help to make and how that can help make our life happier and better.�

The pope has proposed the World Meeting of Families to reflect on his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Archbishop Martin says the idea of 'love� from Pope Francis that is addressed in this letter will be an important point of this encounter.

Archbishop of Dublin (Ireland)
'If I talk about the passing on of faith within the family, you know, sometimes people say, 'Oh you have to do this with catechesis, teaching them how to pray,' and they're all important. But the fundamental one is the witness of love that parents show to their children and to one another. And that reflects, if they live it out fully, the tender loving care of God. That's where children learn what a loving God might mean.�

Prefect, Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
'That love and the transmission of the love of God and the transmission of that concept of the mercy of God in the world today; it's not going to happen unless we do it in the family and through the family.�

The pope has not officially confirmed whether or not he will attend, but the Prime Minister of Ireland has personally come to Rome to invite him to the most important meeting for families in 2018.


To the Venerable Brother


Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life

At the end of the Eighth World Meeting of Families, held in Philadelphia in September 2015, I announced that the subsequent meeting with Catholic families of the world would take place in Dublin. I now wish to initiate preparations, and am pleased to confirm that it will be held from 21 to 26 August 2018, on the theme 'The Gospel of the Family: joy for the worldâ?. Indeed, it is my wish for families to have a way of deepening their reflection and their sharing of the content of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

One might ask: does the Gospel continue to be a joy for the world? And also: does the family continue to be good news for todayâ??s world? I am sure the answer is yes! And this 'yesâ? is firmly based on Godâ??s plan. The love of God is His 'yesâ? to all creation and at the heart of this latter is man. It is Godâ??s 'yesâ? to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases; it is Godâ??s 'yesâ? and His commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love. The family, therefore, is the 'yesâ? of God as Love. Only starting from love can the family manifest, spread and regenerate Godâ??s love in the world. Without love, we cannot live as children of God, as couples, parents and brothers.

I wish to underline how important it is for families to ask themselves often if they live based on love, for love and in love. In practice, this 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, 'pleaseâ?, 'thank youâ? and 'Iâ??m sorryâ?. Every day we have the experience of fragility and weakness, and therefore we all, families and pastors, are in need of renewed humility that forms the desire to form ourselves, to educate and be educated, to help and be helped, to accompany, discern and integrate all men of good will. I dream of an outbound Church, not a self-referential one, a Church that does not pass by far from manâ??s wounds, a merciful Church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as Love, which is Mercy. It is this very mercy that makes us new in love; and we knowhow much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy, and even more so after the extraordinary Jubilee. The Dublin meeting will be able to offer concrete signs of this.

I therefore invite all the Church to keep these indications in mind in the pastoral preparation for the next World Meeting.

You, dear Brother, along with your collaborators, have the task of translating in a special way the teaching of Amoris Laetitia, with which the Church wishes families always to be in step, in that inner pilgrimage that is the manifestation of authentic life.

My thoughts go in a special way to the archdiocese of Dublin and to all the dear Irish nation for the generous welcome and commitment involved in hosting such an important event. May the Lord recompense you as of now, granting you abundant heavenly favours. May the Holy Family of Nazareth guide, accompany and bless your service, and all the families involved in the preparation of the great World Meeting in Dublin.

From the Vatican, 25 March 2017




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