Final Report to pope Francis, 2015 Synod of Bishops Part III. The Mission of The Family (6th and last in the series)

Chapter IV.  The Family and Evangelization

  1. A Family Spirituality

“The family in its vocation and mission, is truly a treasure of the Church, ‘treasure in earthen vessels’”, says St. Paul (2 Cor. 4: 7).  Above the doorway of family life, says Pope Francis, are ‘three expressions…may I?  thank you, and pardon me’”.  “Simple expressions, but not so simple to put into practice.”

“Papal teaching is an invitation to deepen the spiritual dimension of family life, beginning from the rediscovery of family prayer and listening to the Word of God in common, which leads to a commitment to charity.”

“The staple food of the spiritual life of the family is the Eucharist, especially on the Day of the Lord, as a sign of his deep grounding in the ecclesial community (cf. John Paul II, Dies’ Domini’, 52, 56).”

“Domestic prayer, participation in the liturgy and the practice of Marian and popular devotions are an effective means of encountering Jesus Christ and the evangelization of the family.”

“This highlights the special vocation of the spouses to realize, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, holiness in their married life.”

  1. “Family tenderness is the bond uniting parents to each other and with their children.”

“Tenderness means to give with joy and stir in the other the joy of feeling loved.”

“Tenderness is expressed in a particular way by exercising loving care in treating the limitations of the other, especially when they are evident.”

“Dealing with delicacy and respect means attending to wounds and restoring hope and to rekindle trust in the other.”

“Tenderness in family relationships is the daily virtue that serves to overcome inner conflicts and disagreements in relations with others.”

  1. The Family: Objects of Pastoral Care.

“…the family cannot evangelize without being evangelized.”  “The mission of the family includes the fruitful union of the spouses, the upbringing of their children, the witness of the Sacrament of Matrimony, preparing other couples for marriage and friendly guidance of couples or families facing difficulties.”

“Consequently, an effort at evangelization and catechesis inside the family is important.”  Form couples and parents as active agents in catechesis, specially in their children’s lives.  “Collaborators: “priests, deacons, consecrated persons and catechists.”

“This effort starts from the time a couple starts dating.”

“Initiation needs to be stressed.  The families come, meet and seek advice as they walk in faith and share ways leading to growth and mutual exchange.”

  1. “The Church must instill in families a sense of belonging to the Church, a sense of ‘we’ in which no member is forgotten. All are encouraged to develop their skills and realize their plan of life in serving the Kingdom of God.”

“May every family, incorporated in the Church, rediscover the joy of communion with other families so as to serve the common good of society by promoting policy-making, an economy and a culture in the service of the family, through the use of social networks and the media, which calls for the ability to create small communities of families as living witnesses of Gospel values.”

“Families need to be prepared, trained and empowered to guide others in living in a Christian manner.”

“Families who are willing to live the mission are to be acknowledged and encouraged.”

“Finally, we note the importance of connecting youth ministry with family ministry.”

The Relationship with Culture and Institutions

  1. “The Church…has used the discoveries of different cultures so that in her preaching she might spread and explain the message of Christ to all nations, that she might examine it and more deeply understand it, that she might give it better expression in liturgical celebrations and in the varied life of the community of the faithful’ (GS, 58).”

Respect for the unique characteristics of each culture is important.  Blessed Pope Paul VI:  “Every effort must be made to ensure a full evangelization of culture, or more correctly of cultures.” (EN, 20).

“Pastoral care of marriage and the family needs to acknowledge those positive experiences, which are a ‘preparatioevangelica’.”

However, the “family cannot avoid boldly denouncing any form of pressure coming from culture, society, politics or the economy.”

“The growing hegemony of a market logic also contributes to worsening discrimination, poverty, exclusion and violence.”

“Various families…because of their inability to receive credit, become the victims of usury and are sometimes forced to flee their homes and even their children… Suggestion “to create appropriate economic structures of support for those families or structures capable of promoting familial and social solidarity.”

  1. “The family must rediscover its vocation to support life in society in all its aspects. It is essential that families, through their associating one with the other, find ways to interact with political, economic and cultural institutions in order to build a more just society.”

“Dialogue and cooperation needs to be developed with various social entities while encouragement and support need to be given to the laity, who are committed as Christians on the cultural and socio-political level.”

“In particular, policy-makers must respect the principle of subsidiarity and not limit the rights of family”, Respect the Charter of Rights of the Family and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“For Christians engaged in political life, the commitment to life and the family must take priority.”

Aims: “promoting and defending life; life and the family; freedom of education; religious freedom; proper balancing of work-time and time for family, defense of women in the workplace; protection of the right to conscientious objection.”

  1. Openness to Mission

“Throughbaptism, the Family of the Church is missionary in nature.”  Faith is increased when shared…especially to children.  “A life of communion is the primary form of evangelization.”  “Evangelization begins in the family, which transmits corporal as well as spiritual life.”

“Various forms of witness: solidarity with the poor; openness to a diversity of people; the protection of creation; moral and material solidarity with other families, especially the most needy; a commitment to the promotion of the common good, also through the transformation of unjust social structures; practice corporal and spiritual works of mercy.”

  1. CONCLUSION

“We hope that the result of this work, now delivered into the hands of the Successor of Peter, might give hope and joy to many families…guidance to the pastor and pastoral workers, and a stimulus to…evangelization.”

Back to: COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop (No. 872 March 14, 2016)

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About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
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