Pope Francis sends forth missionary families
By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis has a mission for Catholic families: “Proclaim the beaty of being family with joy! Proclaim the grace of Christian marriage to children and young people.”
The Holy Father addressed his “missionary mandate” especially to participants in the tenth World Meeting of Families, which concluded Saturday night with a joyful Eucharistic liturgy celebrated by Cardinal Kevin Farrell in St Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis was in attendance at the Mass, and pronounced the homily.
Following the ceremony, Pope Francis’ Missionary Mandate to families was distributed to those present. Copies of the Mandate were also given out on Sunday to pilgrims and visitors who had come to St Peter’s Square for the weekly Angelus.
“Give hope to those who have none”
In his Mandate, the Pope invited young families to “be guided by those who know the way,” and more established families to “be companions on the journey for others.” And for families who have lost the way, he encouraged them not to be overcome by sadness, but to “trust in the Love that God has placed in you, [and] beseech the Spirit each day to revive it.”
His call included the exhortation to “give hope to those who have none,” to “be the ones to ‘sew’ the fabric of society and of a synodal Church, creating relationships, multiplying love and live,” to “be a sign of the living Christ,” without fear of what the Lord is asking of them or of responding generously to His call.
Open yourselves to Christ, listen to Him in the silence of prayer. Accompany those who are most fragile, take responsibility for those who are alone, for refugees, for the abandoned.
“Be families with big hearts”
Finally, Pope Francis said, “Be the seed of a more fraternal world! Be families with big hearts! Be the welcoming face of the Church! And please pray, always pray!”
The Pope’s mandate to families, sending them forth as missionary mandates, concluded this edition of the World Meeting of Families, which took place not only in Rome, but also in diocesan and parish settings around the world.
Following Saturday’s concluding Mass, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, announced that the next gathering of families would be the “Jubilee of Families,” which will take place in Rome in the context of the Jubilee Year 2025. The XI World Meeting of Families will take place in 2028.