ROME, DEC. 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Ennio Antonelli is highlighting the great possibilities of evangelization through the family.
The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family emphasized this point on Nov. 25 when he opened in Rome an international congress promoted by his dicastery.
The congress closed on Saturday with the Vigil for All Nascent Life, celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica and presided over by Benedict XVI.
In his address, Cardinal Antonelli stated, “The Christian family has always been the first way to transmit the faith and still today has great possibilities of evangelization.”
The pontifical council received, from bishops worldwide, 187 reports on pastoral experiences with the family. Many of these reports were presented to the 200 participants of the congress.
The cardinal said that this gathering of experiences is “the official inauguration of a permanent process of communication of experiences and testimonies of family pastoral care.”
He expressed the intention of “activating a process with continuity in time” of compilation and circulation of these experiences, after the necessary discernment, in order to “inspire and stimulate new experiences.”
The prelate explained that Benedict XVI encouraged this work given that experiences “speak the language of deeds and are more convincing than ideas,” because “not only do they indicate what has to be done but also what can be done, with God’s help.”
The congress also included the testimonies of various families of different ecclesial groups and movements.
Cardinal Antonelli stated, however that it is not enough to give examples of “good Christians.” He emphasized “the good use of human liberty” when “divine grace is received.”
It is not only about “Christian love,” the prelate said, but of “the love itself of Christ, received, contributed and manifested to all.”
To exercise this “responsibility” of families, the cardinal recommended a pastoral care centered on “the importance and beauty of the Christian proclamation,” a program of “sanctity.”
Persons and communities must be formed, added Cardinal Antonelli, so that they will not be content with “a mediocre life,” which is a “sign of a minimalist ethic and a superficial religiosity.”
He emphasized openness to dialogue, the promotion of the integral development of the human person, human rights, the family, the well ordered society and the elaboration of concrete forms of social commitment.
Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments presided over the opening Mass of the congress.
In his homily, he pointed to the importance of the Eucharist, stating: “Without the Mass, at least on Sundays, there is no Church, no Christian family –‘the small Church’ — and no evangelization.”