VATICAN CITY, MAR. 18, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II surprised his listeners today when he proposed the “adoption” of fathers of families in poor countries.
While addressing the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square, the Holy Father reminded them that Monday is the feast of St. Joseph — Father´s Day in some places.
He took advantage of the opportunity to encourage the Adopt a Father campaign launched in Italy by the Committee of Catholics United for a Civilization of Love.
The campaign, the Pope explained, is “a new form of long-distance adoption that, through the direct mediation of missionaries, makes it possible to ensure dignified work for heads of families in poorer countries.”
“My heartfelt blessing to this initiative, which helps families to remain united and contributes to create a world of greater fraternity and solidarity,” the Pope said.
Before praying the Marian Angelus, the Pope gave the example of St. Joseph as an inspiration to find the answer to the many challenges facing people today.
“How precious the ´school´ of Nazareth is for contemporary man, deceived by a culture that all too often exalts appearance and success, autonomy and a false concept of individual liberty,” the Pope exclaimed. “How much need there is, on the contrary, to recover the value of simplicity and obedience, of respect and of the loving search for God´s will.”
“In the first place, St. Joseph is a model of faith for us,” Peter´s Successor explained, an “encouraging example, especially when we are asked to trust in God´s word” when we do not see “his plan clearly.”
St. Joseph also is a model for the man of today of “humble exercise of obedience, a virtue that shines in him by way of determined silence and hiddenness,” the Pope said.
Further, St. Joseph is “an eloquent witness for believers that to serve is to reign.” His example is not only valid for “fathers,” but also for all those who have the responsibility to guide, John Paul said. Among the latter are nine new bishops whom the Pope will ordain Monday, and for whom he asked Christians to pray.