He added that “just as the spouses Aquila and Priscilla were valuable collaborators of St. Paul in his mission, so too today many married couples, and even entire families with children, can become valid witnesses to accompany other families, create community, and sow seeds of communion among the peoples receiving the first evangelization, contributing in a decisive way to the proclamation of the kerygma.”
Today the family is more than ever “a sign of the times,” the pope said, and the Church needs to actively listen and involve them in pastoral care.
He underlined that all the baptized, not just pastors, are called to evangelize the world: “To bring God’s love to families and young people, who will build the families of tomorrow, we need the help of the families themselves, their concrete experience of life and communion.”
“We need spouses alongside the pastors, to walk with other families, to help those who are weaker, to announce that, even in difficulties, Christ is present in the Sacrament of Marriage to give tenderness, patience, and hope to all, in every situation of life.”
He explained that just as the complementarity of man and woman “combine to make up the tapestry of the family, so too the sacraments of Holy Orders and marriage are both indispensable to building up the Church as a ‘family of families.’”.
“In this way, we will be able to have a pastoral care of families in which one breathes fully the spirit of ecclesial communion.”
Pope Francis noted that the synods on the family “helped the Church to bring to light many concrete challenges that families experience: ideological pressures that hinder educational processes, relational problems, material and spiritual poverty and, at the root, a great deal of loneliness due to the difficulty of perceiving God in one’s own life.”
“I invite you, therefore, to take a fresh look at Amoris laetitia in order to identify, among the pastoral priorities indicated therein, those that best correspond to the concrete needs of each local Church and to pursue them with creativity and missionary zeal,” he said.
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