Rome: The Capital of the Family — What Will it Take?

New out this morning is a report on the upcoming Synod on the Family and other family related information from Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family:

This morning in the Holy See Press Office Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, presented the twelfth plenary assembly of the dicastery, which will take place in Rome from 23 to 25 October, and the pilgrimage of families to the tomb of St. Peter to mark the Year of Faith, the theme of which is “Family, live the joy of faith” (26 and 27 October). Today’s press conference also included the presentation of a volume, published in Spanish and Italian, gathering together thirty-five texts by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio-Pope Francis on the theme of the family and life, written between 1999 and 2013. The other participants in the conference were Bishop Jean Lafitte, Msgr. Simon Vasquez and Fr. Gianfranco Grieco, O.F.M., respectively secretary, under-secretary and head of department of the aforementioned Pontifical Council.

Archbishop Paglia emphasized that the recent convocation of the third general assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October 2014) will project new light on the upcoming events to be held by the Pontifical Council for the Family. “We wish to promote a great Family celebration around Pope Francis. Rome wants to, and must, become the ‘Capital’ of the family, both in Italy and worldwide. To be part of a family is good. To make a family is beautiful: we want to shout this out to the world, especially to families in difficulty. … If it is not good for man to be alone, it is likewise not good for families to be alone. The family must return to the centre of culture, politics, the economy, finance, and the life of peoples and nations. The Family must increasingly be the focus of the attention and concerns of the post-conciliar Church. Pope Francis, with the celebration of the next Synod, wishes to remind us of this urgency before it is too late. All the dioceses of the world are invited to put themselves on the same wavelength in order to reflect and to give new impetus to family pastoral care”. Read the full article.

I’m struck by that portion of the comments which reads: “We wish to promote a great Family celebration around Pope Francis. Rome wants to, and must, become the ‘Capital’ of the family, both in Italy and worldwide. To be part of a family is good. To make a family is beautiful: we want to shout this out to the world, especially to families in difficulty.”

The article goes on to emphasize that at the upcoming Plenary Assembly to be held later this month, an emphasis will be placed on putting Pope Francis in proximity to the elderly and children:

“On Saturday afternoon the Pope will be surrounded by hundreds of elderly people and children, a novelty compared to other family meetings. By this decision it was intended to give visibility to the generational structure that characterizes and enriches the life of every family and together bring to the fore two subjects who are particularly vulnerable and who merit greater attention.”

Rome as the “Capital of the Family” is an interesting prospect. I’m left to ponder if families currently feel that we can turn to our Church first and foremost when our families struggle. When we deal with issues such as unemployment, care for an elderly parent, the challenge of raising teens or even the management of our family finances, how many of us look to our Church for guidance and solutions? I can look around myself at several non-denominational Christian churches in my community who provide a fine role model in some of these arenas. I hope that this emphasis on families takes us beyond documents and philosophical teachings and into the realm of providing real tools that will help in a hands on fashion with some of the topics that most challenge today’s Catholic families.

A question for you: What will it take for you to consider Rome and your Church as the “Capital” of the family?

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About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com and connect with her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.


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