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Pope Francis: hope is a gift from the Holy Spirit


2013-10-29 Vatican Radio



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday explained the true meaning of hope saying it’s much more than simple optimism for Christians, it is constant expectation, it’s a gift from the Holy Spirit, it’s a miracle of renewal that never lets us down.

Listen to Linda Bordoni’s report…

Speaking at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope reflected on the words of St. Paul in which he says: ‘Never disappoint yourself’- Hope never lets you down. Why? Said the Pope: “Because it’s a gift from the Holy Spirit”. And he continued: Paul tells us that hope has a name. Hope is Christ.

Elaborating on the meaning of hope the Pope said that it creates a tension directed towards the revelation of Jesus Christ, towards true joy that is eternal life.

And referring to the virtues of faith, hope and charity, the Pope said that often the virtue of hope is seen as the most humble of the three, because – he said – it is hidden in life. You can see faith – he added – you can feel it, you know what it is. And charity too – we know what that is. But what is hope? What is this attitude of hope? First of all – he said – we can say it is a risk, a risky virtue – as Saint Paul says: it is a virtue of ardent expectation for the Revelation. “It is not an illusion”.

And he continued: “Jesus, the hope, renews everything. So hope is a constant miracle. “The miracle of what He’s doing in the Church. The miracle of making everything new: of what He does in my life, in your life, in our life. He builds and He rebuilds. And that is precisely the reason of our hope”. “Christ is the one who renews every wonderful thing of the Creation; He’s the reason of our hope. And this hope does not delude because He is faithful. He can’t renounce Himself. This is the virtue of hope.”

And Pope Francis concluded reminding all Christians about the Virgin Mary’s attitude after her son’s death, up until His resurrection on Sunday.

Hope – he said – is what Mary, Mother of God, sheltered in her heart during the darkest time of her life: from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning. That is hope: she had it. And that hope has renewed everything. May God grant us that grace.”

Vatican City State receives elevated Standard Ethics Rating


2013-10-28 Vatican Radio



(Vatican Radio) The Standard Ethics independent rating agency has announced it has elevated the Standard Ethics Rating (SER) attributed to Vatican City State from “EE-” to “EE.”

The Standard Ethics Rating is a benchmarking tool on sustainability, social responsibility, governance and environment.

The sustainability ratings issued by Standard Ethics are the result of statistical and scientific work carried out to take a snapshot of the economic world in relation to ethical principles promoted by large international organisations.

In a note, Standard Ethics reported that since it was given a “positive outlook” last July, Vatican City State has successfully met international requests to provide greater financial and accounts transparency of its financial institutions.

The note clarifies that significant steps were taken against money laundering, illicit financial transactions and financing of terrorism, in great part due to the Vatican’s gradual adherence to criteria laid out by the Financial Action Task Force (Groupe d’action financière FATF-GAFI) and adoption of recommendations from the Moneyval Division of the Council of Europe.

Furthermore, Standard Ethics reports that the most significant step forward was provided with the approval by the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State of Legislation n. XVIII of October 8, 2013. This law provides for a stable body governing transparency, supervision and financial information. The new law follows the constitution a few years ago of the Authority for Financial Information (AIF).

Further elements of transparency, the communique reports, are the publication of the Annual Report on Financial Activity, and the AIF’s Year 1- 2012 publication of the annual report on the website of the Vatican Bank (Istituto per le Opere Religiose IOR) on October 1, 2013.

Pope Francis receives Aung San Suu Kyi in the Vatican


2013-10-28 Vatican Radio



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday received Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi in the Vatican, offering his support to her commitment towards democracy.

The Burmese opposition leader, a former political prisoner in her country, is currently on a visit to Europe and on Sunday was made an honorary citizen of Rome.

After the private meeting between Aung San Suu Kyi and Pope Francis, Vatican press office director, Father Federico Lombardi briefed journalists and described what he called “a great feeling of harmony and accord” between the Pope and this “symbolic figure of the Asian world”.

The themes touched upon during their cordial exchange included the culture of encounter and inter-religious dialogue.

During the meeting, which took place in the Papal Library, Pope Francis expressed his appreciation for Aung San Suu Kyi’s commitment towards democracy in her country, and assured her of the Church’s support towards this cause. But he specified that no kind of discrimination is expressed by the Church which is at the service of all with its charitable works.

Father Lombardi also recalled the Pope’s attention towards the Asian continent and his desire to visit it.

Suu Kyi has become an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.

She has spent most of the last two decades in some form of detention because of her efforts to bring democracy to military-ruled Burma. She was re-elected to parliament in 2012.Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and earlier was awarded the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990.

Vatican sends message to Hindus for Deepavali


2013-10-28 Vatican Radio



(Vatican Radio) The Vatican has sent a message to Hindus as the celebrate the Feast of Deepavali. In the Message, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran writes “Regardless of our
ethnic, cultural, religious and ideological differences, all of us belong to the one
human family.”

The full text is below:

Christians and Hindus: fostering human relationships through friendship and solidarity

MESSAGE FOR THE FEAST OF DEEPAVALI

2013
Vatican City

Dear Hindu Friends,

1. In a spirit of friendship, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
extends to you best wishes and cordial greetings as you celebrate Deepavali on 3
November next. May God, the source of all light and life, illumine your lives and
deepen your happiness and peace.

2. In this highly competitive world where increasingly individualistic and
materialistic tendencies adversely affect human relationships and often create
divisions in families and society as a whole, we wish to share our thoughts on
how Christians and Hindus can foster human relationships for the good of all
humanity through friendship and solidarity.

3. Relationships are fundamental to human existence. Security and peace in
the local, national and international communities are largely determined by the
quality of our human interaction. Experience teaches us that, the deeper our
human relationships, the more we are able to advance towards cooperation,
peace-building, genuine solidarity and harmony. In short, the ability to foster
respectful relationships is the measure of authentic human progress and essential
for promoting peace and integral development.

4. Such relationships ought to flow naturally from our shared humanity.
Indeed, human relationships are at the heart of human existence and its progress
and naturally give rise to a sense of solidarity with others. Regardless of our
ethnic, cultural, religious and ideological differences, all of us belong to the one
human family.

5. Sadly, with the increase of materialism in society and a growing disregard
for deeper spiritual and religious values, there now exists a dangerous trend to
accord the same value to material things as to human relationships, thereby
reducing the human person from a ‘someone’ to a ‘something’ that can be cast
aside at will. Furthermore, individualistic tendencies engender a false sense of
security and favour what His Holiness Pope Francis has described as ‘a culture
of exclusion’, ‘a throwaway culture’ and ‘a globalization of indifference’.
6. The promotion of a ‘culture of relationship’ and ‘a culture of solidarity’ is
thus imperative for all peoples, and calls for the fostering of relationships based
on friendship and mutual respect for the benefit of the entire human family. This
requires a common recognition and promotion of the intrinsic dignity of the
human person. It is evident then that friendship and solidarity are closely related.
In the end, a “culture of solidarity means seeing others not as rivals or statistics,
but brothers and sisters” (Pope Francis, Visit to the Community of Varginha
(Manguinhos), Rio de Janeiro, 25 July 2013).

7. Finally, we wish to state our conviction that a culture of solidarity can only
be achieved as “the fruit of a concerted effort on the part of all, in service of the
common good” (Pope Francis, Meeting with Brazil’s Leaders of Society, Rio de
Janeiro, 27 July 2013). Sustained by the teachings of our respective religions and
aware of the importance of building genuine relationships, may we, Hindus and
Christians, work individually and collectively, with all religious traditions and
people of good will, to foster and strengthen the human family through friendship
and solidarity.

We wish you a happy celebration of Deepavali!

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
President
Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue

Father Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ
Secretary

Ecumenical experts journey to South Korea


2013-10-28 Vatican Radio



(Vatican Radio) A Catholic delegation of ecumenical experts, headed by Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, arrived in Seoul, South Korea at the weekend. The delegation will be attending the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan from October 30th to November 8th. But first, the group is meeting with local churches and members of other faiths in the capital.
Philippa Hitchen is travelling with them and filed this report:

My first impressions of Seoul are of a bustling, vibrant city centre of high rise office blocks and teeming street markets, with neon signs beckoning from every store front. Easy to see why this is a so-called Asian Tiger, with one of the fast growing economies in the world.
But as we climb the steps of Myeongdong Catholic Cathedral, leaving the surging crowds of shoppers behind, we find a different, more traditional kind of Korean society: ladies wearing lacy white mantillas to cover their heads, people praying before the relics of their martyrs in the crypt and long queues of locals waiting patiently to attend one of the 13 Masses that are held here every Sunday.
Around 10 percent of South Koreans call themselves Catholics, while about twice that number belong to one of the Protestant churches and another 22 percent are of Buddhist religion. By far the largest percentage of the population though, is those who say they have no religious faith at all.
Yet church leaders we speak to disagree with that analysis: they insist that Koreans are very spiritual people, open to religious values and a sense of the transcendent, even if they prefer not to belong to any particular church or religious group. Certainly Confucian culture and traditions are deeply ingrained in the mentality here: everyone knows his or her place, respecting the elders and bowing low to people in positions of authority.
Amidst these colourful contraditions and challenges, the Catholic Church continues to grow: parishes are flourishing, several hundred seminarians are in training in the Seoul diocese alone, and many priests, religious and lay people are sent overseas to serve in other mission countries. After a history of persecution and suffering, the Church also offers an increasingly important voice on social issues, ranging from environmental concern to the plight of the urban poor – some of whom we see hoping for handouts in the shadow of the cathedral’s soaring neo-gothic spire. The economic miracle continues, but there are many who’ve been left behind

Pope Francis: Catholic media to be professional, in service to Church


2013-10-28 Vatican Radio



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday met with the staff of Vatican Television Centre (CTV) as it continues to mark its 30th anniversary.

He commended them for their professionalism, and said they “must not flinch” as they tackle the technological challenges of the present age. He also reminded them to not lose sight of their Christian duties in their work.

“Play like a team,” said Pope Francis. “The effectiveness of the pastoral work of communications is possible by creating bonds, by coming together around shared projects on a number of subjects: a unity of planning and resources. We know this is not easy, but if we work together like a team everything becomes easier, and more importantly, this style of your work will also be a witness of communion.”

The Pope’s second point was to be professional in the service of the Church.

“Your work is high quality, and it has to be given the task you have been assigned,” said Pope Francis. “But professionalism for you is always in service to the Church , in everything: in filming , directing , in your editorial choices, administration … Everything can be done with a style, a perspective, that is that of the Church, that of the Holy See”

Pope Francis also gave a special thanks to the families of the staff, “whose schedules are often dictated by the agenda and commitments of the Pope.”

“It is not a small sacrifice…and for this not only am I grateful, but I assure you all of my prayers, especially for your children,” he said.

Listen:

Pope Francis: Jesus continues to pray and intercede for us


2013-10-28 Vatican Radio



(Vatican Radio) At the centre of Pope Francis’ homily on Monday morning was the passage from the Gospel of Luke during which Jesus remained in prayer throughout the whole night before choosing the twelve apostles, and he pointed out that Jesus continues to pray and to intercede for us.

Speaking to those gathered at Casa Santa Marta for Mass, the Pope said that by praying to God to choose his apostles, Jesus was “putting together his team together” – and afterwards a great number of people came to be with Him and to be healed by Him, because “power was coming Him and healing them all”. And he referred to three different rapports Jesus has: “Jesus and the Father, Jesus and his Apostles, Jesus and the people”. And the Pope pointed out that “Jesus prayed to the Father for the Apostles and for the people”. And he said: he is still praying.

Jesus has saved us, he said, with his prayers, with his sacrifice, with his life. He is gone now and he continues to pray – the Pope said – but does that mean that Jesus is a spirit? Jesus – he underlined – is not a spirit! He is a person, a man with flesh like our flesh, but in the glory of God. He said Jesus has wounds on his hands, on his feet and on his side. And when he prays he shows the Father the price of our salvation. Pope Francis said: “it is as if he is saying: Father, may this not be lost!”

So prayer stems from Jesus who prays and intercede for us.

“We often say to each other: pray for me. I need prayers. I have so many problems”. And that is good – Francis pointed out – “because we are brothers and we must pray for each other”.

And the Pope says he prays to Jesus to pray for him and intercede for him.

He concluded saying that He prays for all of us, and he does so courageously, showing the Father the price of our redemption: his wounds.

We must think about this – concluded the Pope – and we must thank the Lord. We must thank him for giving us a brother who prays for us and intercedes for us. And speaking to Jesus we must say: “Lord, you have saved me. And now pray for me”. “It is to him we must entrust our problems, our life and many other things so that He may take them to the Father”.

Pope Francis on the family: an inestimable and irreplacable good


2013-10-27 Vatican Radio



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, October 27th, 2013, to mark the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time and the World Family Day at the close of the 21st Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which met in Rome this past week to reflect on the theme of living the joy of the Faith. In his homily, the Holy Father spoke of the Christian family as an institution that prays, keeps faith, and experiences joy. Listen:
Over 100 thousand people were in St Peter’s Square on Sunday morning under a late October sky that was at first overcast and threatening before giving way during the course of Mass to brilliant sunshine. In his homily, Pope Francis challenged families to pray together:. “It is,” he said, “a matter of humility: of realizing that we need God.” The Holy Father went on to call families to lives of Christian witness, asking them to model their lives on St the example of St. Paul, who kept the faith by sharing it. “ Christian families are missionary families,” said Pope Francis, “in their everyday life, in their doing everyday things, as they bring to everything the salt and the leaven of faith!”

Pope Francis concluded his homily with a reflection on the joy of living as a Christian family. He said, “The family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally.” He went on to say, “That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world, it is the leaven of society.”

After Mass, before reciting the Angelus with the gathered faithful, the Holy Father paused before an icon of the Holy Family that was placed on the steps of the Basilica, and recited a prayer composed for the occasion: “Holy Family of Nazareth,” he prayed, “reawaken in our society the awareness of the sacred and inviolable character of the family, an inestimable and irreplaceable good. Let every family be a welcoming place of goodness and peace for children and the elderly, for the sick and lonely, for the poor and needy.”

Pope Francis: the Christian family experiences joy in faith


2013-10-27 Vatican Radio



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, October 27th, 2013, to mark the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time and the World Family Day at the close of the 21st Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which met in Rome this past week to reflect on the theme of living the joy of the Faith. In his homily, the Holy Father spoke of the Christian family as an institution that prays, keeps faith, and experiences joy. Below, please find the official English translation of Pope Francis’ prepared remarks.

********************************************************

Homily of the Holy Father
Family Day
(Saint Peter’s Square, 27 October 2013)

The readings this Sunday invite us to reflect on some basic features of the Christian family.

1. First: the family prays. The Gospel passage speaks about two ways of praying, one is false – that of the Pharisee – and the other is authentic – that of the tax collector. The Pharisee embodies an attitude which does not express thanksgiving to God for his blessings and his mercy, but rather self-satisfaction. The Pharisee feels himself justified, he feels his life is in order, and he judges others from his pedestal. The tax collector, on the other hand, does not multiply words. His prayer is humble, sober, pervaded by a consciousness of his own unworthiness, of his own needs. Here is a man who realizes that he needs God’s forgiveness.

The prayer of the tax collector is the prayer of the poor man, a prayer pleasing to God. It is a prayer which, as the first reading says, “will reach to the clouds” (Sir 35:20), unlike the prayer of the Pharisee, which is weighed down by vanity.

In the light of God’s word, I would like to ask you, dear families: Do you pray together from time to time as a family? Some of you do, I know. But so many people say to me: How can we? Prayer is something personal, and besides there is never a good time, a moment of peace… Yes, all that is true enough, but it is also a matter of humility, of realizing that we need God, like the tax collector! And we need simplicity! Praying the Our Father together, around the table, is something all of you can do. And praying the Rosary together, as a family, is very beautiful and a source of great strength! And praying for one another!

2. The second reading suggests another thought: the family keeps the faith. The Apostle Paul, at the end of his life, makes a final reckoning: “I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7). But how did he keep the faith? Not in a strong box! Nor did he hide it underground, like the lazy servant. Saint Paul compares his life to a fight and to a race. He kept the faith because he didn’t just defend it, but proclaimed it, spread it, brought it to distant lands. He stood up to all those who wanted to preserve, to “embalm” the message of Christ within the limits of Palestine. That is why he made courageous decisions, he went into hostile territory, he let himself be challenged by distant peoples and different cultures, he spoke frankly and fearlessly. Saint Paul kept the faith because, in the same way that he received it, he gave it away, he went out to the fringes, and didn’t dig himself into defensive positions.

Here too, we can ask: How do we keep our faith? Do we keep it for ourselves, in our families, as a personal treasure, or are we able to share it by our witness, by our acceptance of others, by our openness? We all know that families, especially young families, are often “racing” from one place to another, with lots to do. But did you ever think that this “racing” could also be the race of faith? Christian families are missionary families, in their everyday life, in their doing everyday things, as they bring to everything the salt and the leaven of faith!

3. There is one more thought we can take from God’s word: the family experiences joy. In the responsorial psalm we find these words: “let the humble hear and be glad” (33/34:2). The entire psalm is a hymn to the Lord who is the source of joy and peace. What is the reason for this gladness? It is that the Lord is near, he hears the cry of the lowly and he frees them from evil. As Saint Paul himself writes: “Rejoice always … The Lord is near” (Phil 4:4-5).

Dear families, you know very well that the true joy which we experience in the family is not superficial; it does not come from material objects, from the fact that everything seems to be going well… True joy comes from a profound harmony between persons, something which we all feel in our hearts and which makes us experience the beauty of togetherness, of mutual support along life’s journey. But the basis of this feeling of deep joy is the presence of God in the family and his love, which is welcoming, merciful, and respectful towards all. God alone knows how to create harmony from differences. But if God’s love is lacking, the family loses its harmony, self-centredness prevails and joy fades. But the family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally. That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world, it is the leaven of society.

Dear families, always live in faith and simplicity, like the Holy Family of Nazareth! The joy and peace of the Lord be always with you!

Pope to families: Live the Joy of Faith!


2013-10-26 Vatican Radio


(Vatican Radio) Speaking on Saturday evening in St. Peter’s Square to thousands of families gathered to celebrate a weekend Family Pilgrimage to the Tomb of St. Peter, Pope Francis invited all generations to come together and live the joy of Faith.

After having listened to the experiences and the stories those present had shared with him, the Pope said: “I have seen so many children, so many grandparents… I have felt the pain of families living in situations of poverty and war. I have listened to the young people who want to be married even though they face numerous difficulties. And so, let us ask ourselves: how is it possible to live the joy which comes from faith, in the family, today?”

He continued his address reflecting on a passage in the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus says: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” and pointed out that life can often be wearisome. Work is tiring – he said – looking for work is exhausting. But what is most burdensome in life is a lack of love. Without love – Pope Francis said – the burden becomes even heavier.

And turning his thoughts to elderly people living alone, and to families who receive no help in caring for someone at home with special needs, the Pope said the Lord knows our struggles and the burdens we have in our lives. But he also knows our great desire to find joy and rest!

Pope Francis went on to reflect on marriage which he described as life-long journey “Setting out and walking together, hand in hand, putting yourselves in the Lord’s powerful hands”.

The Pope said that with trust in God’s faithfulness, everything can be faced responsibly and without fear. He said that notwithstanding the many difficulties faced by spouses today, Christians are not afraid to be responsible, “they do not shirk the mission of forming a family and bringing children into the world”.

And reflecting on the icon of Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple, Pope Francis noted that it depicts three generations that come together fulfilling a single design: the elderly persons represent faith as memory; Mary and Joseph are the family, sanctified by the presence of Jesus who is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. Like the Holy Family of Nazareth – the Pope said – “every family is part of the history of a people; it cannot exist without the generations who have gone before it”.

Pope Francis concluded his address reassuring all families that they too, are a part of God’s people, and with the help of Christ’s grace, he urged them to live the joy of faith.

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’s address.


Dear Families!

Good evening and welcome to Rome!

You have come as pilgrims from many parts of the world to profess your faith before the tomb of Saint Peter. This Square welcomes you and embraces you: we are one people, with one heart and soul, gathered by the Lord who loves and sustains us. I also greet the families who have joined us through television and the internet: this Square has expanded in every direction!
You have given this meeting a title: “Family, Live the Joy of Faith!” I like that title. I have listened to your experiences and the stories you have shared. I have seen so many children, so many grandparents… I have felt the pain of families living in situations of poverty and war. I have listened to the young people who want to be married even though they face numerous difficulties. And so, let us ask ourselves: how is it possible to live the joy which comes from faith, in the family, today?

1. A saying of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew speaks to us: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). Life is often wearisome. Work is tiring; looking for work is exhausting. But what is most burdensome in life is a lack of love. It weighs upon us never to receive a smile, not to be welcomed. Certain silences are oppressive, even at times within families, between husbands and wives, between parents and children, among siblings. Without love, the burden becomes even heavier. I think of elderly people living alone, and families who receive no help in caring for someone at home with special needs. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden”, Jesus says.

Dear families, the Lord knows our struggles and the burdens we have in our lives. But he also knows our great desire to find joy and rest! Do you remember? Jesus said, “… that your joy may be complete” (cf. Jn 15:11). He said this to the apostles and today he says it to us. Here, then, is the first thing I would like to share with you this evening, and it is a saying of Jesus: Come to me, families from around the world, and I will give you rest, so that your joy may be complete.

2. The second thing which I would share with you is an expression taken from the Rite of Marriage. Those who celebrate the sacrament say, “I promise to be true to you, in joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health; I will love you and honour you all the days of my life”. At that moment, the couple does not know what joys and pains await them. They are setting out, like Abraham, on a journey together. That is what marriage is! Setting out and walking together, hand in hand, putting yourselves in the Lord’s powerful hands.

With trust in God’s faithfulness, everything can be faced responsibly and without fear. Christian spouses are not naïve; they know life’s problems and temptations. But they are not afraid to be responsible before God and before society. They do not run away, they do not hide, they do not shirk the mission of forming a family and bringing children into the world. But today, Father, it is difficult… Of course it is difficult! That is why we need the grace of the sacrament! The sacraments are not decorations in life; the sacrament of marriage is not a pretty ceremony! Christians celebrate the sacrament of marriage because they know they need it! They need it to stay together and to carry out their mission as parents. “In joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health”. And in their marriage they pray with one another and with the community. Why? Only because it is helpful to do so? No! They do so because they need to, for the long journey they are making together. They need Jesus’ help to walk beside one another in trust, to accept one another each day, and daily to forgive one another.

The life of a family is filled with beautiful moments: rest, meals together, walks in the park or the countryside, visits to grandparents or to a sick person… But if love is missing, joy is missing, nothing is fun. Jesus gives always gives us that love: he is its endless source and he gives himself to us in the Eucharist. There he gives us his word and the bread of life, so that our joy may be complete.

3. Here before us is the icon of Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple. It is a beautiful and meaningful picture. Let us contemplate it and let it help us. Like all of you, the persons depicted in this scene have a journey to make: Mary and Joseph have travelled as pilgrims to Jerusalem in obedience to the Law of the Lord; the aged Simeon and the elderly prophetess Anna have come to the Temple led by the Holy Spirit. In this scene three generations come together: Simeon holds in his arms the child Jesus, in whom he recognizes the Messiah, while Anna is shown praising God and proclaiming salvation to those awaiting the redemption of Israel. These two elderly persons represent faith as memory. Mary and Joseph are the family, sanctified by the presence of Jesus who is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. Like the Holy Family of Nazareth, every family is part of the history of a people; it cannot exist without the generations who have gone before it.

Dear families, you, too, are a part of God’s people. Walk joyfully in the midst of this people. Remain ever close to Jesus and carry him to everyone by your witness. I thank you for having come here. Together, let us make our own the words of Saint Peter, words which strengthen us and which will confirm us in times of trial: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life” (Jn 6:68). With the help of Christ’s grace, live the joy of faith! May the Lord bless you, and may Mary, our Mother, be ever at your side.