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W

hen Pope Francis arrived at the World

Meeting of Families in Philadelphia on

Sept. 26, he had a speech prepared for

the 18,000 people gathered there. But as he lis-

tened to families share their emotional stories, in

true Pope Francis fashion he put the script aside

and spoke from his heart.

His candid speech,

spoken in his native

Spanish, addressed the reality of family life — in

all its complexity, brokenness, and beauty.

“In families, there is always, always, the cross,”

he said, “because the Son of God opened for us

this path. Because of this, the family is — for-

give the term I’ll use — it is a ‘factory of hope,’ of

hope of life and of resurrection.”

In no uncertain terms, Pope Francis has placed

family matters at the very heart of his pontificate.

In writings, talks, interviews, and homilies,

he

reaffirms the family as the foundation of society

and the Church, the privileged place for spread-

ing the faith, and a revolutionary choice in a

culture that embraces the temporary and dispos-

able. And with the

Synod on the Family,

which

convened this fall, he seeks to chart a definitive

path for the Church in ministering to — and lis-

tening to — families.

And it’s worth noting that attending the

World Meeting of Families i

n September was his original

reason for his whirlwind trip to the United States

(see pages 19-21

for our coverage of his trip).

WORLD

MEETING

OF FAMILIES

2015

family matters

By Breanne Reilly

10

M

arian

H

elper

 • W

inter

2015-16

 •

marian.org

Pope Francis’ address

at the Festival of

Families at the World

Meeting of Families.

Some of the major

keynote speeches

at the World

Meeting of Families.