general audience


Pope at Audience: Family Members Who Help Sick Relatives Are Heroes

Reminds Faithful How Healing Was Priority for Jesus, Even on the Sabbath

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Pope Francis has spoken about «heroes» in the family, namely those who are present for their ill relatives, and has reminded the faithful that difficult moments can strengthen bonds among family members.

During his weekly General Audience address, continuing his catecheses on the family, he focused on a condition common to all families: illness. 

The Holy Father discussed how many times in the Gospels, Jesus meets the sick and heals them. 

Jesus’ desire to cure suffering, the Pontiff underscored, is a central part of his ministry, coming even before observance of other parts of the law.  «Even on Saturdays, Jesus healed,» Francis said off the cuff. «For Jesus, healing and restoring health came first.»

The Successor of Peter went on to say how Jesus sent His disciples to do the same. This is why Jesus gave them the power to heal, that is, to touch the deepest wounds, and bring peace.

The Holy Father acknowledged that the illness of one person can be a very severe trial for all family members.  As Christians, Francis exhorted, «we are called to pray without ceasing for the sick and dying, and to support families where this is being experienced.»

The Pope told those gathered to educate children in a way that they show solidarity with the sick, so that they are not anesthetized to the sufferings of others, but rather are capable of helping the ill and of living fully each human experience. 

The Holy Father prayed that the faithful always give thanks to God for all the Church does to support families in times of illness.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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