"The family...must be nurtured by the Word of God"
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has asked for prayers for the bishops who are about to begin work in the two-week Synod of the Family and invited all families to keep a Bible handy in their homes, and read it often.
Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer on Sunday, he mentioned the just-celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to inaugurate the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family.
The Pope explained that the bishops have been called to take care and promote the family according to God’s plan, and thus they will meet for two intense weeks of listening and dialogue on the theme “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family within the Context of Evangelization”.
“For the family to be able to proceed well, with trust and with hope, it must be nurtured by the Word of God” he said.
And mentioning the fact that in the Square the Pauline brothers had just distributed Bibles to those present, the Pope said: “Today, as the Synod for the Family opens, with the help of the Pauline brothers there is a Bible for every family! Not to just put it on a shelf, but to keep it on hand, dip into it often, both individually and together, husband and wife, parents and children, perhaps in the evening, especially on Sundays. In this way the family will grow and walk in the light and the strength of God’s Word!”
After the recitation of the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis recalled the beatification Saturday of Sister Maria Teresa Demjanovich in the United States and thanked the Lord for this “faithful disciple of Christ who led an intense spiritual life."
He also remarked on the fact that Italy is marking the “Day for the Demolition of Architectural Barriers," and he had words of encouragement for those who work to guarantee equal opportunities for all, regardless of the physical challenges of an individual.
The full text is as follows:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning.
This morning, we opened the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops with the Eucharistic celebration in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Together with me, the Synodal Fathers, who have come from all over the world, we will have two intense weeks of listening and discussion, made fruitful by prayer, on the topic “The Pastoral Challenges on the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”
Today, the Word of God presents the image of the vine as symbol of the people that the Lord has chosen. Like a vine, the people require so much care; they require a patient and faithful love. In this way, God works with us, and in the same way, we pastors are called to do the same. Taking care of the family is also a way of working in the Lord’s vineyard, that it will bear fruits of the Kingdom of God (cf. Matthew 21:33-43).
However, for the family to be able to walk well, with trust and hope, it must be nourished by the Word of God. Therefore, it is a happy coincidence that in fact today our Pauline brothers wished to make a great distribution of the Bible, here in the square, and in many other places.
Let’s thank our Pauline brothers! They do so on the occasion of the centenary of their foundation by Blessed Giacomo Alberione, great apostle of communication. So today, while the Synod on the Family opens, we can say with the help of the Paulines: a Bible in every family! A Bible in every family!
We have one or two but they mustn’t be hidden, not put on a shelf, but to have one and take it in our hand, to read it often, every day, be it individually or together, husband and wife, parents and children, perhaps in the evening, especially on Sunday. Thus, the family grows, walks, with the light and strength of the Word of God!
I invite all to support the works of the Synod with prayer, invoking the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary. At this moment, we associate ourselves spiritually with all those at the Shrine of Pompey, elevating the traditional “Supplication” to Our Lady of the Rosary. May she obtain peace for families and for the whole world!