A press conference was held today at the Holy See Press Office to present the upcoming 12th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which will be held October 23rd-25th in the Vatican. The event, which will reflect on the theme “Family, Live the Joy of Faith” will be marked by a pilgrimage of families to the tomb of St. Peter for the Year of Faith.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family noted the timeliness of the event given the news that Pope Francis recently convened an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops regarding the pastoral challenges of the family for next year. The synod, he said, “represents a great act of love by the Pope towards families.”
“We wish to promote a great family celebration around Pope Francis. Rome wants to, and must, become the ‘Capital’ of the family, both in Italy and worldwide. To be part of a family is good. To make a family is beautiful: we want to shout this out to the world, especially to families in difficulty,” Archbishop Paglia stressed.
The family, he went on to say, must return to the center of everyday life, culture, politics and economy. The upcoming Synod is an indication of the Holy Father’s urgency in the pastoral care of families.
The Secretary of the Pontifical Council, Bishop Jean Latiffe, highlighted the various events that will take place during the Plenary Assembly. The activities of the dicasteries will be among the topics discussed as well as an interreligious approach to the rights of family. Representatives will present a view from the Jewish and Islamic perspective. According to a communique released by the Holy See, a Congress that will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Charter of the Rights of the Family will also take place.
“The themes selected offer an interdisciplinary approach to the question of family rights: the theological basis for the Charter, the concept of natural marriage, the role of the State in recognising the institution of marriage, and the current relevance of the Charter of the Rights of the Family, demonstrating its links to contemporary culture and society,” the communique stated.
The highlight of the Plenary Assembly will be an audience with the Holy Father on October 25th.
Msgr. Simon Vasquez, under-secretary of the dicastery, rounded out the presentation of the upcoming event, saying that an estimated 150,000 families from 70 countries of all five continents are expected to attend.
“On Saturday afternoon the Pope will be surrounded by hundreds of elderly people and children, a novelty compared to other family meetings,” Msgr Vasquez noted. “By this decision it was intended to give visibility to the generational structure that characterises and enriches the life of every family and together bring to the fore two subjects who are particularly vulnerable and who merit greater attention.”