Make Parish a Family of Families, Urges Pope

Inaugurates New St. Corbinian Church for Diocese of Rome

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ROME, MARCH 21, 2011 ( Parishes need to be a “family of families” where couples come together with their children to share the joys and also the “inevitable difficulties,” says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this Sunday during a brief trip to the southern outskirts of Rome, where he inaugurated the diocese’s newest parish, St. Corbinian.

The parish’s patron is dear to this Pontiff, as St. Corbinian was the first bishop of Freising, a post the young Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger would take in 1977. The Pope’s coat of arms has Corbinian’s bear.

“Just as the church building has been erected, my visit here is intended to encourage you to continue to build the Church of living stones, which you yourselves represent,” the Holy Father told the community. “[…] To this end, I exhort you to make your church the place in which you learn to hear the Word of God, the permanent ‘school’ of Christian life from which every activity of this young and busy parish originates.”

The parish was first established in 1999 to accommodate urban expansion in the area, which today has some 10,000 inhabitants and almost 4,000 families. It has one of the largest numbers of young families in Rome. In fact, last year 60 babies were baptized while 195 pupils are being catechized for their first Communion.

The Holy Father noted this parish profile in his address. He exhorted the community to “give life to family pastoral ministry characterized by an open and cordial welcome to new families, and to favor reciprocal knowledge so that the parish community increasingly becomes a ‘family of families,’ able to share with each other, not only the joys but the inevitable difficulties of initiating family life.”

He had a particular request for families in difficulty: “Do not leave them alone, but be close to them with love, helping them to understand God’s authentic plan for marriage and the family.”

The parish priest also spoke of the important role the community has for families.

“Our parish never disappoints the hopes of parents,” said Father Antonio Magnotta. “The Church bears with them the gentle weight of the family and while we build this young community, we pray to God to be an example to young couples who advance in their effort to found their own homes.”

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