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He's already set the guidelines for the agenda (Pope Francis, that is):
“The beauty of the family and of marriage, the grandeur of a reality that is both simple and profound, a combination of joy, hope, burdens and suffering, just like the rest of life.”
Guessed it yet?
Yes. Today in the Vatican, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, presented…*drum roll* …the 8th World Meeting for Families, which is to be held in the U.S., and in particular, Philadelphia.
What’s that I hear you say? Couldn’t come at a better time?
Hold your horses. It’s not taking place until September 2015.
Pope Emeritus Benedict announced his decision for the next meeting to be held in the U.S. at the conclusion of 2012’s World Meeting for Families in Milan.
This was confirmed last month by Holy Father Francis.
However, this Tuesday the World Meeting was formally presented and there’s a lot on the agenda.
“We will deal with many issues,” announced Archbishop Paglia, “theology of the family, married spirituality and holiness, ecclesiology and pastoral care for families, the family in contemporary culture, immigration and the family, the family and ecumenism.”
Pope Francis himself is walking the whole 9 yards along with them, as preparations unfold for this much-needed meeting at such a precarious time both in America’s history as well as the rest of the Western world: a time when the “family is looked down on and treated badly” says the Argentine Pontiff.
During his first year as the man-in-white Francis has already done so much for the family: (hold your breath…) The Family Pilgrimage of the Year of the Faith; the 21st Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family; meeting engaged couples in St Peter’s Square for St Valentine’s Day; his letter to Families and the Consistory on the Family.
Now he is to preside over a special Bishop’s Synod this coming October on “The Challenges to Families in the Context of Evangelization.”
In his address on Tuesday Archbishop Paglia also explained that the Holy Father emphasized how in today’s climate we are all called to “make known how beautiful, and true and good it is to create a family, to be a family in today’s world, and how the world, and the future of all human kind, cannot do without the family.”
He said that Francis also stressed: “our task is to show the world God’s shining plan for families, to help married couples live out that plan with joy, and to be there for them with a shepherd’s care that is wise, brave and full of love.”
Paglia stated that this was precisely their aim in preparing for and carrying out the 8th World Meeting for Families in Philadelphia: “Wisdom in understanding what families face today, bravery in taking on today’s many and complex problems; and love in helping to resolve those problems in the light of the Gospel of the Family and of Life.”
September 2015 can’t come soon enough!
Photo by Chris Pugh