Pope: A year of reflection dedicated to the family, five years after Amoris Laetitia

During the Angelus, Pope Francis mentioned the Apostolic Exhortation promulgated on 19 March 2016. The year of reflection is set to last until June 2022, when the 10th World Meeting of Families will be celebrated in Rome. The “Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph” are the model through which we can “rediscover the educational value of the family unit”. The important “three words” for a family are: “please, thank you, and sorry”. The pontiff mentioned the families marked by the pandemic.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis wants to dedicate “a year of reflection” to the family. In introducing today's Angelus prayer, on the feast day of the Holy Family, the pontiff said that this special year will be inaugurated five years after the promulgation of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, fruit of the Synod on the Family celebrated in October 2015.

The Pope did not specify the schedule, but the text distributed by the Holy See Press Office to journalists says that it “will be inaugurated on the forthcoming Solemnity of St Joseph and will conclude with the celebration of the 10th World Meeting of Families, to be held here in Rome in June 2022.”

The pope explained that this year of reflection will be a way to continue on “the synodal path” and will provide “an opportunity to deepen the content of the document Amoris laetitia, through proposals and pastoral tools. These will be made available to ecclesial communities and families, to accompany them on their journey.

“As of now, I invite everyone to take part in the initiatives that will be promoted during the Year and that will be coordinated by the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life. Let us entrust this journey, with families all over the world, to the Holy Family of Nazareth, in particular to Saint Joseph, devoted spouse and father.”

Amoris Laetitia is one of the most poetic texts of Pope Francis, but also one of the most discussed. At the time, some cardinals had expressed “dubia” (doubts) about some elements and points that seemed to undermine the indissolubility of the marital bond, suggesting some opening for remarried couples to participate in the sacraments. Other cardinals instead supported the text of the Exhortation.

Today the Pope introduced the Angelus from the library of the Apostolic Palace, to avoid gatherings during the current pandemic.

Speaking of today's feast day, Francis invited us to “fix our gaze on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph”, the model through which we can “rediscover the educational value of the family unit: It has to be founded on the love that always regenerates relationships, opening horizons of hope.”

The pope listed values such as “communion”, “prayer”, “affections”, “forgiveness”, “tenderness”, and “serene adherence to God's will”.

“This way the family opens up to the joy that God gives to all those who know how to give with joy. At the same time, it finds the spiritual energy to open itself to the outside, to others, to serve one’s brothers, to work together on building an ever new and better world; capable, therefore, of being the bearer of positive stimuli; the family evangelises with the example of life.“

Speaking without his written text, Francis added some thoughts he often cites, namely that people “fight in the family”, but it is necessary that “the day does not end without making peace.”

He repeated the “three words” that are important in family life: “please, so as not to be intrusive”; “Thank you . . . Gratitude is the blood of the noble soul”; “Sorry, the hardest word to say”. “If these three words are present in the family, the family will be fine.”

After the Marian prayer, Francis addressed a special thought “to the families who in recent months have lost a relative or have been tried by the pandemic” and to the “doctors, nurses, and health personnel” whose lives have been marked by the events of these months.”