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Thursday, May 15, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 15 MAY 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, who have been meeting over the last few days to reflect upon the theme: "The emigrant and itinerant family".

  Benedict XVI recalled how during his recent visit to the United States, he had encouraged people "to continue their commitment to welcoming those brothers and sisters who arrive there, usually from poor countries", and had given particular emphasis to "the serious problem of the reunification of families".

  "The Church's solicitude towards emigrant families does not diminish her concern for itinerant families", he noted, highlighting how families of whatever condition "represent the original cell of society which must not be destroyed but courageously and patiently defended". The family is "the community in which, from infancy, we are formed to adore and love God, learning the grammar of human and moral values, and discovering how to make good use of freedom in truth. Unfortunately, in no small number of situations this is difficult to achieve, and especially in cases of people affected by the phenomenon of human mobility".

  Pope Benedict then went on to examine the "profound bond" between the Sacrament of the Eucharist and that of Marriage, noting how "the liturgy places the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage at the heart of the celebration of the Eucharist. ... In their daily lives, couples must draw inspiration for their behaviour from the example of Christ Who 'loved the Church and gave Himself up for her'", he said. "This supreme gesture of love is presented anew in each celebration of the Eucharist; and it is appropriate for the pastoral care of families to refer back to this sacramental fact as a reference point of fundamental importance.

  "People who go to Mass - and the celebration of Mass must also be facilitated for migrants and itinerant peoples - find in the Eucharist a powerful allusion to their own family, their own marriage; and they are encouraged to live their lives from the point of view of faith, seeking in divine grace the strength to succeed", the Pope added.

  The Holy Father concluded by pointing out that "human mobility represents, in today's globalised world, an important frontier for new evangelisation". In this context, he encouraged the members and consultors of the pontifical council "to continue your pastoral commitment with renewed zeal".
AC/EMIGRANT ITINERANT FAMILY/CON-SM                VIS 20080515 (420)

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