Pope: Families must help each other, build communities focused on Christ

Friday, May. 10, 2024
By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY  — Loneliness causes tremendous harm, including to families, Pope Francis told international leaders of the Teams of Our Lady lay movement.

“With your charism, you can become rescuers attentive to those who are in need, those who are alone, those who have family problems and do not know how to talk about them because they are ashamed or have lost hope,” he said during an audience with the leaders at the Vatican May 4.

“In your dioceses, you can make families understand the importance of helping each other and forming a network; building communities where Christ can ‘dwell’ in the homes and in family relations,” he said. “Without Christian communities, families feel alone, and loneliness does a great deal of harm.”

The lay movement, which formed in France in 1938 and has spread to numerous countries, is dedicated to improving married couples’ spiritual lives.

Pope Francis said, “The Christian family is going through a genuine ‘cultural storm’ in this changing era and is threatened and tempted on various fronts.”

The work of the teams, therefore, is “valuable for the Church” since they “closely accompany married couples so that they do not feel alone in the difficulties of life and in their marital relationship.”

There is a “great urgency,” he said, to help young people “discover that Christian marriage is a vocation, a specific calling that God addresses to a man and a woman so that they can fully realize themselves as generative, becoming a father and a mother, and bringing the grace of their sacrament into the world.”

“This grace is the love of Christ united with that of the married couple,” he said; it is Christ who gives the couple “the strength to grow together every day and to remain united.”

The pope asked them to focus especially on helping newlywed couples “live the beauty of their sacrament,” learn to pray together and discover how faith enters their married life so they can “make room for Jesus and, with him, succeed in taking care of their marriage.”

Together with their priests, they can open up to welcoming young families, he said.

“You can be like flames that kindle other flames to faith, especially among the youngest couples: do not let them accumulate sufferings and wounds in the solitude of their homes. Help them to discover the oxygen of faith gently, patiently and trusting in the action of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

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