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In Philadelphia, he tied practical, homespun pas-

toral advice to eternal truths.

He beseeched the people gathered —who came

frommore than 100 countries — to especially take

care of grandparents and children and to avoid

going to bed angry.

“Never let the day end with-

out making peace,” Francis

said. “In a family, you can’t

finish the day off not being at


He met with the U.S. Bishops

and denounced the “vicious

cycle” of a “Christianity which

‘does’ little in practice, while

incessantly ‘explaining’ its

teachings.” To break this cycle

and encourage people to follow

the faith, the Pope instructed

the bishops to, first, recognize

the family as a confirmation

of God’s blessing instead of a

cause for complaint. He told

the bishops to join families in

both celebration and sorrow,

to “seek out, to accompany, to lift up, to bind up

the wounds of our time.”

He instructed the bishops to extend sincere

invitations to young people to opt for marriage.

He told the bishops to share the Good News with

everyone — to break out of their comfort zones

and “go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all

places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluc-

tance or fear.”

As the World Meeting of Families drew to a

close, Pope Francis beseeched all gathered, both

Christians and non-Christians alike, to return home

and focus on one unifying verb and noun — love.

On behalf of Christians, the Lord’s disciples, he

asked all families of the world for help in promoting

goodness. He said, “Anyone who wants to bring

into this world a family which teaches children

to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcom-

ing evil — a family which shows that the Spirit is

alive and at work —will encounter our gratitude

and our appreciation, whatever the family, people,

region, or religion to which

they belong! ... To raise doubts

about the working of the Spirit,

to give the impression that it

cannot take place in those who

are not ‘part of our group,’ who

are not ‘like us,’ is a dangerous

temptation. Not only does it

block conversion to the faith; it

is a perversion of faith!”

He highlighted the “homely

gestures” family members per-

form out of love for one anoth-

er. These little gestures out-

lined the daily ritual of fam-

ily life, the quiet things that,

since they’re routine, often go

unnoticed or unappreciated.

He said, “Like the warm sup-

per we look forward to at night, the early lunch

awaiting someone who gets up early to go to

work. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug

after we return from a hard day’s work. Love is

shown by little things, by attention to small daily

signs which make us feel at home.”

He said that, like happiness, holiness is always

tied to such little gestures. These “little miracles”

add up, and they serve as an active presence of

Christ’s love in the world today. According to the

Holy Father, faith needs love to develop; it grows

when it is lived and shaped by love. This is why

a loving home is a “domestic church” — because

behind its doors and between its family members,

faith becomes life, and life becomes faith.

In the following pages, we hear fromMarian Helpers — a father, a son, a mother, a daughter,

a husband, and a wife —who give witness to the “factory of hope” that is family. As Pope

Francis would put it, the cross is present in these stories. So is the hope of life and of resurrection.


Following the World Meeting of

Families, the Holy Father convened

a Synod of Bishops from Oct. 4-25 in

Rome. It was the second synod Pope

Francis convened in the past two

years to discuss matters related to

family life. Like its 2014 precursor,

the synod’s theme was “The voca-

tion and mission of the family in the

Church and the modern world.” The

bishops’ debate was divided into three

sections: “listening to the challenges

of the family,” “discernment of the

family vocation,” and “the mission

of the family today.” The Holy Father

is expected to issue a post-synodal

apostolic exhortation on the role of

the family in the life of the Church.





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