News - Family, Church, synodality: pastoral theological congress kicks off
The relationship between young and old, the family as a domestic Church, the priestly and marriage vocation. Many themes were touched upon during the morning of the first day of the Pastoral Theological Congress of the Tenth World Meeting of Families. In the Paul VI Hall about 2,000 delegates from the Bishops' Conferences from around the world were able to participate in lectures and panels in many different languages; earlier in the morning they had instead been in St. Peter's Basilica for Mass celebrated by Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell.
Opening the proceedings was a talk by Gregory and Lisa Popcak, of the Peyton Institute for Domestic Church Life, who spoke about the family as the domestic church, called to be increasingly dynamic. "We believe that this working definition is appropriately inclusive of all types of Catholic families (e.g., married and divorced families, single-parent families, grandparent families, foster families, etc.)," he said, "while still giving due to families rooted in the sacrament of marriage. This is important because while all types of domestic churches participate in the life of the Church, every domestic church must ultimately be ordained to Christian marriage, both in terms of its own call to share the grace of marriage and in its responsibility to raise children who are well prepared to celebrate the fullness of Christian marriage in adulthood."
On the need to create a community of families, Jérôme et Jeannette Daher focused. "The family is the first place of experience and realization of our relational nature, therefore the first place of holiness; it is the domestic Church. But it cannot close in on itself and isolate itself from other families. It would separate itself from the mystical body that is the Church. By being open to each other, families are strengthened and open more to their Head who unifies them all, that is Christ," they said.
Dedicated to the relationship between young and old was the second panel of the day, at which Vincenzo Bassi, president of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe, and his wife Carla Di Lello, among others, spoke. "As we always say, the family is not the sick to be cured, but the cure to the sickness," they explained. "Thus, it is also possible for us to reflect on the meaning of the function of the elderly within the family. In this regard, it should be remembered that the elderly should not only be seen as fragile people, to be cared for and defended: they are also actors, protagonists, starting with the transmission of faith in families, but also in our associative and ecclesial realities."
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