Pope Francis to Families: 'You Are a Hope for Society'

Pontiff Meets with Italian Association of Large Families

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The presence of large families in the world is a «hope for society». These were the words of Pope Francis during a meeting with the Italian Association of Large Families at the Vatican this morning. Hundreds of parents, grandparents and children packed the Paul VI Audience Hall waving and greeting the Holy Father as he made his through the center aisle.

After an address by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and the experiences of parents and grandparents, the Pope began his address with a light hearted question.

«Before anything I have a question, a curiosity. Tell me: at what time did you wake up today? At 6? At 5?» he asked.  «And you are not sleepy? Well with this address, I will make you fall asleep!»

Reflecting on today’s Feast of the Holy Family, the Holy Father said that the image of the elderly Simeon and Anna, who approached Mary, Joseph and the Child Jesus in the temple, were an example of a large family «where different generations meet and help each other.»

The 78 year old Jesuit Pope noted the important role that large families play in being a sign of fellowship in today’s society. «In a world often marked by selfishness, the large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and this attitude then becomes a benefit for the whole society,» he said.

«The presence of large families is a hope for society,» he continued. «And for this reason, the presence of grandparents is very important: a precious presence for both practical help and above all, educational support.»

«Grandparents preserve in themselves the values of a people, of a family, and help parents to transmit them to children. In the last century, in many countries of Europe, the grandparents were those who transmitted the faith: they secretly brought the child to receive Baptism and transmitted the faith to them. «

The Pope went on to thank the parents for their example of love towards, despite the burdens and difficulties they face. He also called on greater support from government and public institutions for large families, particularly in Italy which for some time has registered a low birth rate.

«Each family is a cell of society, but large families are a more rich cell, more vibrant, and the State has an interest in investing in it,» he stressed.

Concluding his address, Pope Francis prayed for those families and children who are going through difficulties or tempted to give in to ‘loneliness and division’.

I pray in particular for the families who are most tested by the economic crisis, those where the father or mother have lost their job, where the youth have been unable to find [work]; the families tried by love ones and those tempted to give in to loneliness and division.

«Please, continue to pray for me,» he said, «because in a way I’m like a grandfather for all of you. Pray for me!»

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For full translation of the Pope’s address, go to: 


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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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