News - Pope to the families: "Let us live with our eyes fixed on Heaven".
"We must live with our eyes pointed towards Heaven". This is how Pope Francis exhorted the thousands of families gathered last night (Wednesday 22 June) in the Paul VI Hall for "The beauty of family", which officially opened the 10th World Meeting of Families. "What is the word that the Lord wants to say with our lives to the people we meet? What further step does He ask of our family today?", is the question given to those present. Then the answer: "Listen. Allow yourselves to be transformed by him, so that you too can transform the world and make it a 'home' for those who need to be welcomed, for those who need to meet Christ and feel loved". And again: "Each of your families has a mission to fulfill in the world, a witness to give.
Testimonies such as those that were presented before the Holy Father took the floor. Introduced by presenters Amadeus and Giovanna Civitillo, Serena and Luigi, parents of three children, cohabiting for many years and with the desire to be able to marry in a Christian manner, told their story. Then Roberto and Maria Anselma Corbella, with tears in their eyes, recalled their daughter Chiara, who died ten years ago of a tumour, for which she had delayed treatment because she was pregnant with their son Francesco. Today Chiara is a Servant of God. “We found ourselves like Mary at the foot of the cross,” her parents recounted, “we accepted without understanding, but Chiara's serenity opened a window to eternity for us and continues to shed light on us today. It was difficult for us to accompany her to the threshold of Paradise and let her go, but from that moment such grace flowed that it gave us a glimpse of God's plan and prevented us from falling into despair”.
Then a song by the three tenors of II Volo - who had opened the evening on the notes of "Grande amore" and, like all the other artists present, from the presenters to the Form-Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana to the diocese choir directed by Monsignor Marco Frisina, who performed free of charge - and then was the testimony of Paul and Germaine Balenza, Congolese, married for twenty-seven years, during which they faced a period of separation and then reconciliation. Again, the family of Pietro and Erika, six children and their arms still open to welcome into their home also mother Iryna with her Sofia, who fled Ukraine. “The decision to leave was not easy, it caused me so much suffering,” says Iryna, as a few yellow and blue flags of her country are raised in the audience. On the one hand, I wanted to be in a safe place with my daughter and to be able to sleep without the fear and noise we heard because of the clashes, without the sirens... On the other hand, we did not know what situation we would find in Italy. I was insecure, sad, and full of doubts. Today, I thank God because He sent so many good people on our path who helped us and showed a big heart by giving us help and hope”.
Last to speak was Zakia Seddiki, widow of Ambassador Luca Attanasio, killed in an assassination attempt in Congo. With her, were her three daughters and her mother, who has always been close to her in these difficult months. "It is an honour for me to share and tell this great love story in the presence of Pope Francis," she began. "Our three daughters, who did not know the figure of the Pope, thought he was a doctor the first time they met him, seeing him dressed in white. And they were not wrong: because the Pope is a doctor who cares for the souls of all Christians, who always cares for those in need of comfort. Thank you!"