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Monday, September 12, 2011

MARRIAGE, HOLY ORDERS: BEARING WITNESS TO CHRIST'S LOVE

VATICAN CITY, 11 SEP 2011 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. today in the cathedral of San Ciriaco, the Holy Father met with a group of priests and families from the archdiocese of Ancona, inviting them to reflect on the importance of leading the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Marriage back to their single source in the Eucharist. "Both those states of life", he said, "have their roots in the love of Christ, ... and they have a shared mission: bearing witness to His love and making it present in service to the community".

"Such an approach makes it possible, first and foremost, to overcome a blinkered view of the family as a mere recipient of pastoral care" when, in fact, "it is the primary place for human and Christian education and, therefore, the greatest ally of priestly ministry. ... In turn, the priest's closeness to the family helps him to a fuller awareness of the profound truth about himself and his own mission".

"No vocation is a purely private matter (particularly the vocation to marriage) because it is open to the horizon of the entire Church. What is important, then, is to integrate and harmonise priestly ministry with the true Gospel of marriage and the family, in order to achieve effective fraternal communion. And the Eucharist remains the centre and source of this unity, which is what drives the Church's activities".

The Holy Father went on: "Dear priests, through the gift you received at Ordination you are called to serve as pastors of the ecclesial community, which is the family of families. ... Cultivate great familiarity with the Word of God. ... God is your home and your inheritance. It is to this that you must bear witness before families ... even at moments of difficulty. ... Be welcoming and merciful, also towards people who struggle to maintain the commitments of the marriage bond, and towards those who, alas, have failed to do so".

"Dear wedded couples", he went on, "your Marriage is rooted in the faith that 'God is love' and that following Christ means 'abiding in love'. ... Construct your families in unity, a gift that comes from on high and that nourishes your commitment to the Church and to the promotion of a just and fraternal world".

"May your daily activities have their origin and centre in Sacramental communion", the Pope told his audience. "Educating new generations in the faith also means that you must show coherence. ... Bear witness to them of the demanding beauty of Christian life. ... To those entrusted to your responsibility, be a sign of Jesus' goodness and tenderness. In Him it is evident that the God Who loves life is no stranger to human existence; rather, he is the friend Who never abandons us".
PV-ANCONA/ VIS 20110912 (480)

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