Pope to Send 2 Messages to Family Encounter

Cardinal Bertone Named Pontifical Legate

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MEXICO CITY, JAN. 6, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Although Benedict XVI will not attend the VI World Meeting of Families this month in Mexico City, he will present two video messages.

The organizing committee of the congress reported that the Pope will send a message to be shown at the opening of the congress Jan. 14, and will deliver his second message live via satellite during the closing Mass on Jan. 18.

The Holy Father also named Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pontiff’s secretary of state, as the pontifical legate to the event.

The news was announced in a letter signed Dec. 28, in which Benedict XVI offered several examples of Christian families he said it would be helpful to meditate on.

From the Eastern Church, he pointed to Basil and Emmelia, who lived between the third and fourth centuries. Of the couple’s nine children, four have been proclaimed saints: St. Basil, St. Gregory Nyssa, St. Peter of Sebaste and St. Macrina the Younger.

The Pope then noted the example from the Western Church of Senator Gordianus, example of political integrity, and his wife Silvia, who were the parents of St. Gregory the Great (c. 540-604).

Among more recent examples, Benedict XVI point to the Spanish martyr María Teresa Ferragud Roig, who was arrested at age 83 together with her four daughters, all four of whom who were contemplative religious women.

The Pope recalled that on Oct. 25, 1936, feast of Christ the King, María Teresa asked to accompany her daughters in martyrdom and to be executed last so she could encourage them to die for the faith. Her death impressed her executioners so much that they exclaimed: «This is a true saint.»

The Pontiff also mentioned the exemplary life of the Italian couple Luigi (1880-1951) and Maria (1884-1965) Beltrame Quattrochi, the first couple to be beatified together. He was a lawyer for the state, and she was a professor and writer.

Finally, Benedict XVI referred to the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Louis Martin (1823-1894) and Marie-Zélie Guérin (1831-1877) were beatified in October.

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