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Monday, December 29, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 28 DEC 2008 (VIS) - At noon today, the Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth, the Pope addressed the thousands who had gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus.

The Holy Father affirmed that "the family of Jesus truly merits the title 'holy' because its sole desire was to fulfil the will of God, incarnate in the adorable presence of Jesus. On the one hand, it is a family like all others and as such is a model of conjugal love, collaboration, sacrifice, trust in Divine Providence, industriousness, solidarity, of all those values safeguarded and promoted by the family, contributing in a basic way to the formation of the fabric of every society".

"At the same time", he continued, "the family of Nazareth is unique, different from all others because of its singular vocation tied to the mission of the Son of God. Precisely with this uniqueness it signals to all families, Christian families primarily, the horizon of God, the sweet and demanding primacy of His will, the perspective of heaven to which we are destined".

Benedict XVI then addressed the thousands of persons gathered in Madrid's Plaza de Colon who were participating in a celebration to "pray for the family and dedicate themselves to work in support of it with strength and hope".

The family", he said, "is certainly a grace of God, which allows what He Himself is to be revealed: Love. An eternally gratuitous love that sustains faithfully and without limits, even in moments of difficulty or discouragement. These qualities are eminently incarnate in the Holy Family in which Jesus came to the world and was raised, coming to wisdom with the thoughtful care of Mary and the faithful tutelage of St. Joseph".

"Dear families", he continued, "do not let love, openness to life, and the incomparable bonds that unite your home be corrupted. Ask this continually of the Lord, praying together, that your intentions be illuminated by faith and exalted by divine grace on the path toward holiness. In this way, with the joy of sharing everything in love, you will give the world a beautiful witness of how important the family is for the human being and for society. The Pope is by your side, asking especially of the Lord for those in each family who have the greatest needs of health, work, comfort, and companionship".

The Holy Father concluded, recalling that the 6th World Encounter of Families will take place in Mexico City from 14 to 18 January 2009. "Let us pray for this important ecclesial event, entrusting all family to the Lord, especially those most affected by the difficulties of life and by the wounds of incomprehension and division. May the Redeemer, born in Bethlehem, give to all the serenity and strength of walking united the path of good."
ANG/FAMILIES/... VIS 20081229 (460)

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