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St. Paul’s married friends should be model for marriage ministry today, says Francis

SAINT PRISCILLA,AQUILA
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Pope also describes 3 characteristics of marriage prep

Pope Francis says the example of the first Christians is useful for marriage ministry today, specifically that St. Paul’s friendship with the married couple Aquila and Priscilla, gave a “synergy that was a precious gift of the Spirit.”

Francis said this as he addressed the Tribunal of the Roman Rota on the occasion of the inauguration of the Judicial Year.

The pope has strongly advocated for an overhaul of marriage prep, and in this address, he gave three characteristics that should characterize preparation for the sacrament: remote, near, and “permanent.”

Regarding “permanent,” the Bishop of Rome said that marriage preparation, or rather at this stage, support, has to include the various phases of married life, in a “serious and structural” way. This support is “intended to nurture in spouses the awareness of the values and commitments proper to their vocation.”

Pastors have the key role to play in this formation, the pope said, but the entire church community must be “co-responsible.”

In this context, he called on an example from Scripture: the experience of the holy spouses Aquila and Priscilla.

“They were among the most faithful companions of the mission of Saint Paul, who called them with grateful affection his sinergoi, that is, his full collaborators in the concerns and the work of the Apostle,” Francis explained. “This high recognition on the part of Paul for the missionary work of these spouses is striking and moving; and at the same time it can be acknowledged how this synergy was a precious gift of the Spirit to the first Christian communities. Let us ask, therefore, that today too the Spirit give to the Church priests capable of appreciating and valuing the charisms of spouses with robust faith and apostolic spirit, such as Aquila and Priscilla.”

The pope also said there is good news in marriage ministry that has to be remembered:

This is the good news: that fidelity is possible, because it is a gift, in spouses as in priests.

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