Vatican City, Jul 7, 2022 / 06:03 am (CNA).
“Do we need marriage counseling?” If you are asking the question, there’s a good chance that you would benefit from at least a few conversations with a Catholic counselor, says Dr…. […]
Pope Francis greets families in St. Peter’s Square before Mass for the World Meeting of Families 2022 on June 25, 2022 / Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Vatican City, Jun 25, 2022 / 12:00 pm (CNA).
Christ, through his passion and death, has set us free from the slavery of self-centeredness, so that we can better love others, Pope Francis said at Mass for the World Meeting of Families on Saturday.
“Freedom is something we receive. All of us are born with many forms of interior and exterior conditioning, and especially with a tendency to selfishness, to making ourselves the center of everything and being concerned only with our own interests,” the pope said on June 25. “This is the slavery from which Christ has set us free.”
Pope Francis delivered the homily at a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, the Vatican office which co-organized the 10th edition of the World Meeting of Families with the Diocese of Rome.
The gathering, attended by around 2,000 families, had the theme: “Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to Holiness.”
In his homily, Francis reflected on a passage from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: “Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love.”
“Freedom,” the pope said, “is one of the most cherished ideals and goals of the people of our time. Everyone wants to be free, free of conditioning and limitations, free of every kind of ‘prison,’ cultural prison, social or economic. Yet, how many people lack the greatest freedom of all, which is interior freedom.”
He also noted that the freedom given by God, as St. Paul says, is not the self-indulgent freedom of the world, but freedom “directed to love, so that — as the Apostle tells us again today — ‘through love you may become slaves of one another.’”
“All of you married couples, in building your family, made, with the help of Christ’s grace, a courageous decision: to use freedom not for yourselves, but to love the persons that God has put at your side,” Pope Francis said.
He advised parents “not to shield our children from the slightest hardship and suffering, but to try to communicate to them a passion for life, the passion to arouse in them the desire to discover their vocation and embrace the great mission that God has in mind for them.”
“Nothing,” he said, “can be more encouraging for children than to see their parents experiencing marriage and family life as a mission, demonstrating fidelity and patience despite difficulties, moments of sadness and times of trial.
“Don’t ever forget this: the family is the first place where you learn to love,” he emphasized.
“In praising the beauty of the family, we also feel compelled, today more than ever, to defend the family,” Pope Francis said. “Let us not allow the family to be poisoned by the toxins of selfishness, individualism, today’s culture of indifference and culture of waste, and as a result lose its very DNA, which is the spirit of acceptance and service.”
Cardinal Kevin Farrell celebrates Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the World Meeting of Families 2022 / Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Vatican City, Jun 23, 2022 / 02:30 am (CNA).
Cardinal Kevin Farrell said on Thursday that Saint John the Baptist is a witness to the sacredness of life from conception to natural death.
The Irish-American cardinal celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist on June 23.
The Mass in English was part of the World Meeting of Families 2022, taking place in Rome from June 22-26 with families from around the world. Families are also encouraged to participate in the event from home via livestream.
Even before Saint John the Baptist was born, “at the moment of Mary’s greeting, [he] recognized the Lord Jesus and leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb,” Farrell said.
“A call from God reached him while he was still in the womb,” he noted. “It invested him with the great task of preparing the hearts of humankind to receive the Savior of the world.”
The cardinal, who leads the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, which organized the World Meeting of Families, said Saint John’s reaction to encountering the unborn Jesus points to an important aspect of family life.
“All of this helps us to understand another key dimension of the family vocation,” he said, “to be guardians of the sacredness of human life from the first moment of conception to natural death.”
Saint John the Baptist’s birth is ordinarily celebrated on June 24, but is moved to June 23 when it coincides with the Feast of Corpus Christi or the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as happened this year.
In his homily, Cardinal Farrell, who is camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, reflected on the liturgy’s first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah.
“The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name,” Farrell said, quoting Isaiah 49:1.
“The life of each child must be protected and defended precisely because God has great plans for that child’s goodness and holiness right from the beginning,” he said.
“God’s call has reached your children too,” he continued, “right from the beginning, so that all of them may be saints of tomorrow and will make our world a brighter place for all.”
Pope Francis speaks at the opening of the World Meeting of Families in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, June 22, 2022. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
Vatican City, Jun 22, 2022 / 12:10 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis said Wednesday that Catholic marriage is a gift, not just a formality or rule.
“Marriage is not a formality to be fulfilled. You don’t get married to be Catholic ‘with the label,’ to obey a rule, or because the Church says so, or to throw a party,” the pope said at the opening event of the World Meeting of Families on June 22.
“You get married,” he continued, “because you want to base your marriage on the love of Christ, which is as firm as a rock.”
“We can say that when a man and a woman fall in love, God offers them a gift: marriage. A wonderful gift, which has in it the power of divine love: strong, enduring, faithful, able to recover after any failure or fragility,” Francis said.
The World Meeting of Families 2022 opened with a Festival of Families in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. The event featured a performance by Italian operatic rock trio Il Volo.
Pope Francis and around 2,000 families from around the world also listened to the testimonies of married couples and individuals with stories of overcoming incredible challenges or of serving others.
The 10th edition of the World Meeting of Families, which ends on June 26, includes three days of talks from lay Catholics on subjects related to marriage and the family. Mass and Eucharistic adoration are also on the schedule.
Pope Francis told families: “In marriage Christ gives himself to you, so that you have the strength to give yourselves to each other.”
“Take courage, then, family life is not an impossible mission,” he added. “With the grace of the sacrament, God makes it a wonderful journey to be taken together with him, never alone.”
“Family is not a beautiful ideal, unattainable in reality. God guarantees his presence in marriage and family, not only on your wedding day but throughout your life. And he sustains you every day in your journey,” Francis said.