When Pope Francis neared the stage, Abigail hopped on her father’s shoulders and took photos – excitedly showing off the images to her parents and three younger siblings.
“The family is not first and foremost a cause for concern”.
Indeed, the family is not for the Church primarily a source of concern, but the confirmation of God’s blessing to the masterpiece of creation.
The announcement of Dublin as the venue was made during the concluding mass of Pope Francis’s 10-day pastoral visit to Cuba and the United States.
The families I met here faced different struggles.
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Archbishop Martin added that Pope Francis’s health as well as his schedule would be a factor in whether the papal visit to Ireland takes place.
Members of the crowd at the Festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia point to a rainbow that appeared after the pope finished his speech at Independence Mall.
In a statement Martin said “The family in Ireland is strong and the Church is called to take up the challenge of ensuring that future Catholic generations are prepared to live their marriage as an itinerary of faith”. Instead, he spent some 15 minutes speaking “from the heart”, as his his preference in lower-pressure, friendlier surroundings – only this time, the in-person audience numbered somewhere around 1 million.
Really, at the moment, all I wanted was to hear what the event’s emcee was saying.
“This concrete world, with all its many problems and possibilities, is where we must live, believe and proclaim”, he said.
Not everyone in Philly was in love with Pope Francis though. The current culture seems to encourage people to enter into the dynamic of no link to anything or anyone. Eating relations, consuming friendships, religions consume, consume, consume … “Whatever the cost or consequences.” – in addition to the trend of chasing fads and “accumulating “friends” on one of the social networks”, all of which he said leads to a “radical sense of loneliness”. Loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognized.
“I have to say that family is like a factory of hope”, the Argentine pope said, “it’s like a factory of resurrection”.
Bringing four children to a marathon event was not without obstacles for the Gould family.
Often, they’ll pray for families who have no home or who go to bed hungry.
“We’re still on bit of a high here”, he said.
“He is determined, I think, to see the next World Meeting of Families through and to be in Ireland but it’s too early to say that yet”. I pray that our days of prayer and reflection on the importance of the family for a healthy society will inspire families to continue to strive for holiness and to see the Church as their constant companion, whatever the challenges they may face.
As I leave, I ask all of you, especially the volunteers and benefactors who assisted with the World Meeting of Families: do not let your enthusiasm for Jesus, his Church, our families, and the broader family of society run dry. But there was so much love that He had within Himself, this love between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, it was so great, so overflowing that – I don’t know if this is very theological, but you’ll understand what I mean – it was so great that He couldn’t be egotistical.
The alternative – “A Christianity which “does” little in practice, while incessantly “explaining” its teachings” – would be “dangerously unbalanced”.
“I ask them, ‘Did you sleep?’ They say, ‘I couldn’t sleep, Your Holiness, because the baby didn’t sleep all night'”.
“Never let the day end without making peace”, he said. We place our hope in them. All that is good, all that is true, all that is attractive brings us to God.
Irish pilgrims in Philadelphia shared their excitement after Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, announced the 2018 World Meeting of Families would be held in Dublin.
Francis is to fly back to Rome tonight.