News - The family, a gift for the world
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field; a man finds it and hides it again, then he goes, full of joy, and sells all his possessions and buys that field. So is the family is for Benoît and Véronique Rabourdin, from France, who opened the proceedings of the second day of the Pastoral Theological Congress of the Tenth World Meeting of Families. "It is important to understand this treasure and reveal it," the couple reflected, "because couples and families who live this communion of love are intrinsically happy and fruitful. They inevitably bear fruit that unfolds in a natural splendour where they are established". But families are a treasure that must be unearthed, they pointed out: "We are made in the image of God to give ourselves. It is the mission of parents for their children, but it is also the mission of spouses for each other and the mission of the Church for the world. Communion is lived through gift".
The first panel focused on the relationship with the children and with the younger generations in general, and was attended by, among others, Massimo and Patrizia Paloni, "from a neo-catechumenal community in Rome and itinerant missionaries in Holland for eighteen years", as they themselves said from the stage of the Paul VI Hall. The Paloni couple presented a new post-Confession experience: "Today, so many young people come from wounded families. An increasing percentage of children live with only one parent, the majority because of parental separation, another part because of situations outside of marriage. Faced with the failure of more than 50 per cent of marriages, without the support and help of the school, many young people find themselves without any foothold and lose their way. In a new post-Confirmation experience, which many parish priests around the world, in communion with their bishops, have decided to start, small groups of young people are formed, who come together with a family of proven faith and adulthood, capable of an authentic witness of service to these young people. Teenagers are attracted to the Christian family in which they see a living faith. In these groups, young people begin to read the Word of God, reflect on the commandments as a way of life, rediscover the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and come into contact with the Christian life of a concrete family".
Faith and existential peripheries were the focus of the second panel of the morning. Such as those dealt with by María Paula Casanova, from Argentina, and Valerio Santoro, from Italy, married with two children. “We live in Argentina, in a community where for three years we have been sharing our lives with men with addiction problems,” they recounted. A community belonging to the Pope John XXIII Association, not a large structure, but a place where the focus is on acceptance. "The method we follow to recover addicts is to share life directly with them," they explained. "Our proposal is to share, we do not offer a service: we do not work to heal them but because we love them, we cure them. In our therapeutic community we live the family, work, daily life.... The family with its beautiful moments and those not so beautiful, but together we overcome the difficulties. The therapy is very simple: the therapy of truth, of responsibility, of commitment to oneself. The therapy of the encounter with the Absolute, which is not imposed, but breathed".
The day was opened by Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, celebrated by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the Pope's vicar for the diocese of Rome. "Here, this morning, with the Heart of Christ the Good Shepherd, the hearts of the whole world beat," said the cardinal, "They are hearts happy to have said yes to God; they are hearts wounded by the trials of history and of the world; they are hearts open to the newness of the Gospel, to be able to bear witness to the perennial presence of Christ the Bridegroom in our history. It is not true that the family is now lost, gone. It is still on the shoulders of the Shepherd who with strength and tenderness crosses the ways of the world and calls us to rediscover the path of holiness".