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Pope Video: Our families

The Pope Video for July 2020 calls for prayer that today’s families may be accompanied with love, respect and guidance.

“The family ought to be protected,” the Pope begins: “It faces many dangers: the fast pace of life, stress… Sometimes, parents forget to play with their children. The Church needs to encourage families and stay at their side, helping them to discover ways that allow them to overcome all of these difficulties. Let us pray that today’s families may be accompanied with love, respect and guidance, and especially, that they may be protected by the State.”

In the notes of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network which accompany the video, a fuller description of the pressured environment of the contemporary family is drawn:

The realities of families today differ from those of the past. Immersed in a culture where there is little time, where overwork sometimes hinders family living and where digital connection often replaces human affection, many families feel isolated and suffer in silence. In times of crisis, moreover, where the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic are still visible —marked by the losses of jobs or the difficulties to make a living— it becomes more evident that neither individuals nor society can do without families. That is why States need to promote policies that contain and protect them.

Patricia Higgins is a wife, mother and part-time manager of the IT charity, Enclude. She reflects on the Pope’s intention this month from an Irish perspective. In Living Prayer 2020, she writes:

Pope Francis in his teaching on family, Amoris Laetitia, encourages an understanding of family that values and includes those beyond the immediate nuclear family, including grandparents, aunts and uncles and others close to the family. These are the people who accompany families today, along with those who engage with families as part of their work.

What does it mean for families to be accompanied? What comes to mind is sitting in my uncles’s house, shortly after my uncle had received a cancer diagnosis, and listening and laughing with my uncle, aunt and cousins as Dad told stories about strange and funny incidents from his own cancer journey, which had started some twenty-two years before.

Today’s families need accompaniment with challenges, such as cancer, that many have faced before, and may also need support around challenges that are very new and unfamiliar, both to them and to those accompanying them.

May those who accompany families have the courage to gently and respectfully offer guidance based on their own experience where that is appropriate. May families facing new and unfamiliar challenges find the loving and respectful accompaniment they need. And may all those who accompany families be adequately resourced, and energised by the significance of their work.

Click on the link above to watch the video. See The Pope Video website » for more information.