Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This past weekend I traveled to Milan for the Seventh World Meeting of Families, devoted to the theme: The Family – Work and Celebration. This joyful international gathering was an inspiring witness to the rich and varied identity of the family as a communion of love based on marriage, a sanctuary of life, a domestic church and the primary cell of society. It is in the family that we discover our God-given vocation to love, to enter into relationship with others and to live together in harmony. The dialogue which took place at the Feast of Testimonies provided an opportunity to reflect on some of the pressing challenges experienced by families today, including the difficulty of finding time to be together, even on the Lord’s Day. At the closing Mass I encouraged our Church communities to become ever more like families, celebrating that divine love which alone can transform our world. May the Meeting advance “the Gospel of the Family” and draw attention to the importance of families for the future of our societies.
* * *
I offer a cordial welcome to the Felician Sisters assembled for their General Chapter and I offer my prayerful good wishes for their deliberations. I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. Upon all the English-speaking visitors, including those from England, Ireland, Sweden, Zimbabwe, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the United States of America, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!