In these days, the Church is called especially to be at the service of the family.  Christ’s mission of healing and redeeming humanity takes root in the lives of individual men and women who then form marriages and families which reflect the Church herself.  The family is, in fact, called the “domestic church” where the faith is nourished and the gifts of life and love are found.

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We wish to highlight two special events in which we can find the church–and particularly the Holy Father Pope Francis himself–at the service of the family: the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and the Synod on the Family in Rome.

The World Meeting of Families in PhiladelphiaExpo-Center-World-Meeting-of-Families

The World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia marked the conclusion of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States.  But the event itself had begun before he arrived.  For a week, the city hosted international families, lectures and breakout sessions, an expo center full of information booths, and visiting relics from overseas.

Welcome-to-our-booth

Welcome to our booth!

Our Provincial Superior, Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart Gaes, SSVM, was part of a panel from the CMSWR that spoke on “House Calls: Fostering Vocations in the Home.”  In this instance, we find the integral way in which the Church supports families and the families build the Church.  It is the mystery of God’s grace and the reality of the parents behind religious vocations.

Speaking-at-WMF-Philadelphia-2015

Our sisters also had a booth at the Expo Center where they were able to greet families and share information about our community with those interested.

It was a shared event of great collaboration between religious as well, including the work of Mother Angelica’s station the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

The center included the visiting relics of St. Maria Goretti as well as those of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, parents of St. Therese who are to be canonized on October 17th.

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Eventually Pope Francis arrived in Philadelphia on Saturday, September 26th.  The booths closed, and the events all turned to the great encounters between the Holy Father and the families, including the Festival of Families.  But getting through to see him took planning and energy!

Even now that the event is over, the website of the World Meeting of Families 2015 still has interesting articles and links (see the Spirituality Center) as well as archived coverage from Vatican’s YouTube channel.

Synod on the Family in Rome: XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (4-25 October 2015)

We are also witness to the great labors of bishops from around the world gathered in Rome to address how the Church can better serve the family for the good of the Church and for the future of civilization.  Because the secular press has little understanding of ecclesiology or of the enduring nature of our faith, it is important for Catholics to pray and read reliable sources about the on-going work of the Synod.  Links to the events are included below:

Video:  Prayer vigil – 2015.10.03    Text of Address in English

Video: Holy Mass for the Opening of the Synod – 2015.10.04    Text of Homily in English

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Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Synod of the Family

For our part, all the members of our Religious Family (IVE, SSVM, and Third Order) have committed to accompanying the Synod by offering our daily rosary for the fruits of the Synod.  Perhaps you and your family might also commit to some special prayer for the Synod.

walking-with-the-family

Our Religious Family commits to walking with the family on the road to eternal life.

For those of you who also read Spanish, you may find the site familiarisconsortio.ive.org of interest.  The moderator is Fr. Miguel Angel Fuentes, IVE and the articles and resources are all related to the life of the family in our times and to the work of the Synod.  (His books are also available in English and in Spanish from IVE Press.)

May Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7) and St. John Paul II (October 22) especially aid the bishops in their work of serving the family as true pastors.

St.JPII

Saint John Paul the Great, pray for all families!

complete text of the Prayer for the Family of Pope Francis:

Prayer to the Holy Family*

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.

*Angelus, 29 December 2013