09/24/2010, 00.00
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Pope: restore true sense of celebration to families torn apart by consumerism

Letter of Benedict XVI for the preparation of the VII World Meeting of Families to be held in Italy, in Milan from May 30 to June 3, 2012. An organization of work focused on profit has taken away from the real meaning of festivities, especially Sunday, the "Lord's day and day of man, the day of family, community and solidarity."


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Recovering the true meaning of celebration, which today risks being obliterated by excesses in the organisation of a work bent on profit and market competition which promotes a consumistic lifestyle that ends up tearing families apart. This is Benedict XVI's exhortation in a letter written for the launching of the VII World Meeting of Families to be held in Italy, in Milan from May 30 to June 3, 2012.

Referring to the theme of " The Family: Work and Rest”, the Pope highlighted how they "are intimately connected with the lives of families: they influence choices, affect relations between spouses and between parents and children, affect the relationship between the family and society and the Church. Sacred Scripture (cf. Gen 1-2) tells us that family, work and holidays are gifts and blessings of God to help us live a fully human life. Daily experience attests that authentic development of the person includes the individual dimension, family and community, both activities and  functional relationships, as well as openness to hope and that Good which is limitless".

“Nowadays, unfortunately, the organisation of work, which is planned and implemented as a function of market competition and maximising profit, and the concept of rest as a time for evasion and consumption, contribute to the break-up of families and communities, and to the spread of an individualistic lifestyle. It is therefore necessary to reflect and commit ourselves to reconciling the demands and requirements of work with those of the family, and to recover the true significance of rest, especially on Sundays, the weekly Easter, the day of the Lord and the day of man, the day of the family, of the community and of solidarity”.

Consequently, in the letter addressed to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family Card. Ennio Antonelli, Benedict XVI writes that "the next World Meeting of Families is an excellent opportunity to rethink work and rest  in view of a family united and open to life, well integrated into society and the Church, attentive to the quality of relationships as well as the economy of the same family household. The event, in order to achieve real success, however, should not remain isolated, but be preceded by an appropriate course of ecclesial and cultural preparation. I therefore hope that already in the year 2011, the XXX anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, the "Magna Carta" of family ministry, a valid path with initiatives at the parish, diocesan and national levels can be taken, aimed at highlighting experiences of work and rest in their real and positive aspects, in particular their effect on the concrete experiences of families. Christian families and church communities around the world should therefore feel called upon and involved so as to promptly begin preparations for "Milan 2012"".

An appointment which on 2 and 3 June 2012 – as he writes in his letter - will see the Pope preside at  the " 'Feast of Witness' " on Saturday evening and Mass to conclude the meeting Sunday morning.

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