Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 26, 2013 / 09:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Marking the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, during his Angelus address today Pope Francis said the transmission of faith takes places first and foremost in the home and among families.
“Saints Joachim and Anne were part of a long chain of people who had transmitted their love for God, expressed in the warmth and love of family life, down to Mary, who received the Son of God in her womb and who gave him to the world, to us,” Pope Francis told World Youth Day pilgrims on July 26.
“How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith!” he said from the balcony of the archbishop's palace in Rio de Janeiro.
Pope Francis had come before to the residence of Archbishop Orani Tempesta to meet with him, as well as five young Argentine detainees with whom he has maintained contact since his time in Buenos Aires.
Earlier in the day, the Pope had said a private Mass and then heard the confessions of 10 pilgrims, in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
Pope Francis began his Angelus address by telling the pilgrims he would be happy if his visit to Rio were to “renew, in each one of you, your love for Christ and his Church and your joy in being one with him, belonging to the Church and being committed to offering a living witness to the faith.”
He praised the Angelus as a “beautiful popular expression of the faith” which “punctuates the rhythm of our daily activities,” encouraging all to pray it regularly. “It reminds us of a luminous event which
transformed history: the Incarnation, the moment when the Son of God became man in Jesus of Nazareth.”
The Pope turned to reflecting on the day's feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus, and emphasized to the young pilgrims the importance of honoring their own grandparents.
“In their home, Mary came into the world … (she) grew up in the home of Joachim and Anne; she was surrounded by their love and faith: in their home she learned to listen to the Lord and to follow his will.”
He noted that Grandparents Day is also celebrated today, marking the feast of God's own grandparents. “How important grandparents are for family life,” the Pope said, “for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society.”
“How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogue, especially within the context of the family.”
Pope Francis, for the third time in his visit to Brazil, referred to the Aparecida Document, which was prepared by the Latin American bishops on mission and evangelization, to bolster his World Youth Day message of the importance of both the quite young and rather elderly in spreading and sharing the faith.”
“Children and the elderly build the future of peoples: children because they lead history forward,
the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their lives,” he said, quoting the 2007 document.
Pope Francis added, “This relationship and this dialogue between generations is a treasure to be preserved and strengthened!”
He said the pilgrims at World Youth Day “wish to acknowledge and honour their grandparents,” saluting them with “great affection” and thanking them for the “ongoing witness of their wisdom.”
Having said that, Pope Francis led the crowd in the Angelus prayer as “one big family,” turning to Mary “that she may protect our families and make them places of faith and love in which the presence of Jesus her Son is felt.”
Following the prayer, the Pope will lunch with Archbishop Tempesta and 12 World Youth Day pilgrims. In the evening, he will lead the Way of the Cross on Copacabana beach.