Papal Message to the 11th International Gathering of the Teams of Our Lady

“Be The Smiling and Sweet Face of the Church”

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BRASILIA, Brazil, JULY 23, 2012 ( Here is a translation of the message that the pope’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, sent in the name of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, to the participants of the 11th International Meeting of the Teams of Our Lady, taking place in Brasilia, Brazil, from July 21-26 on the theme: “Dare the Gospel.”

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Most Reverend Eminence,

Informed of the 11th International Gathering of the Teams of Our Lady, the Supreme Pontiff requested me to send you, through this means, his paternal greeting to the participants and to all the couples of the Movement born of the far-sighted pastoral intuition of the Servant of God Henri Caffarel, priest, whose mission has not seen diminish, with the passing of time, its timeliness and urgency, rather in a certain way it has increased in the light of the problems and difficulties that marriage and the family experience today, surrounded by an atmosphere of growing secularization.

In this context, the couples of the Teams of Our Lady proclaim, not so much with words but above all with their life, the fundamental truths about human love and its most profound meaning: “A man and a woman who love one another, the smile of a child, the peace of a home: here is an exhortation without words, but extraordinarily persuasive, in which every man can already anticipate, as by transparency, the reflection of another love and its infinite appeal” (Paul VI, To the Couples of Our Lady’s Teams, May 4, 1970).

Of course this idea might seem too lofty. It is for this reason that the Movement encourages its members to drink constantly from the sources of grace of the sacrament of marriage and of participation in the Sunday Eucharist; so that beyond the resources of the grace of the sacraments, it proposes to them, with great wisdom, a “method rich in commitments and simple and concrete suggestions to live day by day the incarnated spirituality of Christian spouses. Among them, it stresses the “duty to sit down together,” that is, the commitment to hold periodically a time of personal dialogue between the spouses, during which each one presents to the other, with total sincerity and in a climate of mutual listening, the most important problems and situations in the life of the couple. In our world so marked by individualism, activism, speed and distraction, sincere and constant dialogue between spouses is essential to avoid the emergence, growth and hardening of misunderstandings that, unfortunately, often end up in irremediable breaks that no help can repair. Hence, cultivate this valuable habit of sitting together to talk and to listen to each other, to understand one another again and again in face of the surprises and difficulties of the long journey.

In three months’ time we shall be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II that, in many of its documents, offered the Church of our time a renewed vision of the value of human love, of conjugal and family life; on that occasion we will begin the Year of Faith, to rediscover all the vivacity and joy of the proclamation of the faith in our world and in our time. His Holiness Benedict XVI invites Christian couples to be “the smiling and sweet face of the Church,” the best and most convincing messengers of the beauty of love sustained and nourished by faith, gift of God offered with abundance and generosity to all, so that every day they can discover the meaning of their life

As sign of ecclesial gratitude, of encouragement for the new challenges we meet, and as a guarantee of grace and light of the Most High for the works of the 11th International Gathering of the Teams of Our Lady, the Holy Father grants to all the participants and their families his implored Apostolic Blessing.

I take advantage of this occasion to express, to your Most Revered Eminence, my sentiments of fraternal esteem in Christ the Lord.

Vatican, July 5, 2012

Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone
Secretary of State of His Holiness

[Translation by ZENIT]
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