Family love: vocation and way to holiness. This is the theme of the Tenth World Meeting of Families being held in Rome from 22 to 26 June 2022. The voice and witness of several couples from “New Families “, a branch of the Focolare Movement, taking part in the event.
A moment of celebration and sharing to be embraced by the Church, “family of families” (Al 87) and to feel an integral part of this people on a journey. From 22 to 26 June 2022 Rome will host the Tenth World Meeting of Families, an event initiated by St John Paul II in 1994 and repeated every three years since then in different locations. The meeting, as announced by Pope Francis in a video message, is this year being held in a “multi-centred and widespread” form, responding to the needs dictated by the pandemic and the desire of so many to participate. In fact, many families around the world will be following the event from their respective dioceses, while others will have the joy of experiencing this moment in person.
“This is the third time we have participated in the World Meeting of Families and each time we really bring home a load of gifts”.
Istavan and Dori Mezaros (Serbia), are the contact persons for the New Families Movement in Eastern Europe and they tell us how important and what a joy it is to be present at this event. “In 2018 in Dublin (Ireland), we discovered the wonderful treasure that the Holy Father gave us with the apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”, a real guide to be used every day in the family. Today we are grateful to God that we can be in Rome, both to experience a moment of real joy, but also to share with the Holy Father and the universal Church the difficulties that the family is experiencing. We would like to understand how to approach families, in a new way, how to accompany them, especially those that are wounded’.
The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this 10th World Meeting of Families is “Family love: vocation and way to holiness”. A vocation put to the test today more than ever before.
“In our country, Argentina, when a family is formed, the first challenge is to find economic stability, but the enormous poverty, the lack of work and inflation make it difficult for young people,” said Liliana and Ricardo Galli, who have for years been animators and responsible at various levels for New Families in Argentina. They currently lead the international course for families in the Focolare’s international little town in Loppiano (Italy). “Moreover,” they continued, “when the family expands, children arrive and grow, you can’t count on any institutional help to accompany spouses in this stage, and strong secularism, the fruit of individualism and consumerism, makes it difficult for young people to make plans. The challenge, therefore, is to support the family, to see it as a community project and take care of it in the community. Living in a network with other families helps keep this family love alive and not to feel alone”.
“The love lived in families is a permanent force for the life of the Church” according to ‘Amoris Leatitia’ (Al 88) and this union needs to be sustained in order to be nourished, as Joao and Soraia Giovani said who for many years have been responsible for New Families in Brazil. “Ever since we got married, faith has guided us in our relationship with God and with each other. For us, marriage is a path to holiness that we build every day. We welcomed our children with great joy, and, together with other families, we tried to put the words of the Gospel into practice, growing in faith. Of course there have been plenty of challenges during these 25 years of marriage and sometimes we had no answers, but our desire to be faithful to God’s love has always been a beacon. We learnt to always tell each other everything and in times of difficulty we knew how to ask for help. Two words from the Gospel have guided us so far: “The Lord performs wonders for the faithful” and “Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed”. The grace of marriage is wonderful and we thank God for our life together”.
Maria Grazia Berretta