The “Amoris Laetitia Family” Year (March 19, 2021- June 26, 2022) has five objectives, pointed out the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family, and Life on December 27, 2020. “To spread the Document’s content,” “to proclaim that the Sacrament of Marriage is a gift,” to render families actors of the family pastoral,” “to make young people conscious of the importance of formation to the truth of love and of the gift of oneself,” “to broaden the gaze and action of the family pastoral . . . so as to include spouses, children, young people, the elderly and situations of family fragility.”
Among the “initiatives” already planned, is a “day for grandparents and elderly people,” but also a Forum in June 2021, and ten videos of Pope Francis on the Document, testimonies of handicapped people, pastoral proposals, preparatory catecheses for Rome’s 10th World Meeting of Families in June 2022.
The Dicastery quotes first of all the Post-Synodal Document: “The Christian proclamation concerning the family is truly good news” (Amoris Laetitia, 1).
Opening and Closing
Pope Francis will open the “Amoris Laetitia Family” Year on March 19, 2021. On that day the Church will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia “on the beauty and the joy of family love.” He will close it on June 26, 2022, on the occasion of the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome.
This is how the organizing Dicastery explains the “project.” The “Amoris Laetitia” Year is an initiative of Pope Francis, which intends to touch the world’s families through different proposals of a spiritual, pastoral and cultural nature, able to be implemented in parishes, dioceses, Universities, Ecclesial Movements, and family Associations.”
“The pandemic experience has made evident the central role of the family as domestic Church and the importance of community links between families, which make the Church a “family of families” (AL 87),” underscores the Dicastery.
This is why the family “merits a year of celebrations because it is placed at the center of the engagement and care of the whole pastoral and ecclesial reality.”
There are five objectives:
“1. To spread the content of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia,” to have people experience that the Gospel of the family is a joy that fills the heart and our whole life” (AL 200). A family that discovers and experiences the joy of having a gift and of being a gift to the Church and the society, “can become a light in the darkness of the world” (AL 66). And today the world is in need of that light!
“2. To proclaim that the Sacrament of Marriage is a gift and that it has in itself a transforming power of human love. To this end, it is necessary that Pastors and families walk together in pastoral co-responsibility and complementarity between the different vocations in the Church (cf. AL 203).
“3. To make families protagonists in the Family Pastoral. To this end, “an effort of evangelization and of catechesis directed to the heart of the family” (AL 200) is necessary because a disciple family also becomes a missionary family.
“4. To sensitize young people to the importance of being formed in the truth of love and in the gift of oneself with initiatives dedicated to them.
“5. To broaden the gaze and action of the family pastoral so that it becomes transversal to the family, to include the spouses, the children, the young people, the elderly and situations of family fragility.”
Initiatives and Resources
“1. Forum “Where are we with Amoris Laetitia? Strategies for the implementation of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation,” from June 9 to 12, 2021, with leaders of the family pastoral of Episcopal Conferences, and international family Movements and Associations.
“2. Project “10 Amoris Laetitia Videos”: The Holy Father will recount the chapters of the Apostolic Exhortation, with families that will give witness of certain aspects of their daily life. Every month a video will be diffused to awaken the pastoral interest of the family in the dioceses and parishes of the whole world.
“3. #IamChurch: diffusion of some video testimonies on ecclesial leadership and the faith of handicapped people.
“4. To walk as a family”: 12 concrete pastoral proposals to walk as a family inspired by Amoris Laetitia.
“5. In view of the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome in 2022, the dioceses and families of the whole world are invited to spread and reflect further on the catecheses that will be made available by the diocese of Rome and to engage in ad hoc pastoral initiatives.
“6. Celebration of a day for grandparents and elderly people.”
“Tools of family spirituality, of formation and pastoral action in preparation for marriage, education to affection of young people, on the sanctity of spouses and families that live the grace of the Sacrament in their daily life, will be diffused,” adds the same source.
In addition, the Dicastery announces that international “University symposiums will be organized to explore the content and the implications of the Apostolic Exhortation in relation to the topical questions that affect families of the whole world”
The 2022 World Meeting in Rome
“Family love: vocation and way of holiness” is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the next World Meeting of Families, which will be held in Rome in June 2022.
“On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and three years after the promulgation of Gaudete et Exsultate,” explains the Dicastery, “this meeting intends to put forward family love as vocation and way of holiness, to understand and share the profound and salvific meaning of family relations in daily life.”
The meeting will be organized by the diocese of Rome and the Roman Dicastery and, initially planned for the fifth anniversary of Amoris Laetitia as well as three years after Gaudete et Exsultate, that is, in 2021. It was moved to 2022 because of the pandemic.
“On giving form to the concrete experience of love,” explains the Dicastery, “ marriage and the family manifest the lofty value of human relations, in the sharing of joys and trials, in the unfolding of daily life, in guiding people to the encounter with God. This path, lived with fidelity and perseverance, reinforces love and realizes the vocation to sanctity proper to each person that is concretized in conjugal and family relations. In this sense, Christian family life is a vocation and a path of sanctity, an expression of the “most beautiful face of the Church” (Gaudete et Exsultate 9).”
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester