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Thursday, November 10, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 10 NOV 2011 (VIS) - Made public this morning was a Message from the Holy Father to Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Guayaquil and president of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, for the second Ecuadorian National Family Congress, which began yesterday and is due to close on 12 November. The congress, which has as its theme "The Ecuadorian Family on Mission: work and rest at the service of the individual and of the common good" is taking place in the context of the Continental Mission promoted by the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, and in preparation for the seventh World Meeting of Families, due to be held in Milan, Italy, in June 2012.

"The family", writes Benedict XVI, "born of a covenant of love and of complete and sincere commitment between a man and woman in marriage, is not a private entity enclosed in itself. By its vocation it makes a wonderful and decisive contribution to the common good of society and the mission of the Church. Society is not a mere aggregation of individuals, but the outcome of relationships between people - husband and wife, parents and children, siblings - the foundation of which is to be found in family life and in the bonds of affection deriving therefrom. Each family, through its children, gives society its own experience of human richness. We can well say that the health and value of relationships within a society depend upon the health and value of relationships within families".

"Work and rest are particularly associated with the life of families: they affect the choices families make, influence relations between spouses and among parents and children, and affect the ties of families with society and with the Church".

"Through work man comes to see himself as a participant in God's plan of creation. This is why unemployment or precarious work undermine man's dignity, creating not just situations of injustice and poverty which frequently degenerate into desperation, criminality and violence, but also crises of identity. It is, then, vital that serious, effective and judicious measures be taken on all sides, accompanied by an indissoluble and forthright will to find ways to ensure that everyone has access to dignified, stable and well paid employment, through which they may seek sanctity and participate actively in the development of society, combining intense and responsible labour with adequate time for a rich, fruitful and harmonious family life".

"A serene and constructive home environment, with its duties and its affections, is the first school of work and the best place in which a person may discover his potential, nurture his ambitions, and foster his most noble aspirations. Moreover, family life teaches us to overcome selfishness, to nourish solidarity, not to disdain sacrifice for another's happiness, to value what is good and true, and to apply ourselves with conviction and generosity in the name of our joint wellbeing and reciprocal good, showing responsibility towards ourselves, others and the environment".

"Rest makes our time more human, opening it to the encounter with God, with others and with nature. For this reason families need to rediscover the genuine significance of rest, and especially of Sunday, the Day of God and man. In the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, families experience the real presence of the Risen Lord in the here and now, they receive new life, welcome the gift of the Spirit, increase their love for the Church, listen to the Divine Word, share the Eucharistic bread and open to fraternal love".
MESS/ VIS 20111110 (590)

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