Sixth World Meeting of Families
concludes with Eucharistic concelebration and Papal Message
Affirm inalienable rights of
On Sunday evening, 18 January ,
the Holy Father spoke via videoconference broadcast live by satellite to
the families taking part in the Sixth World Meeting of Families being
held in Mexico City after its concluding Mass. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,
Secretary of State and Papal Legate, presided at the Eucharistic
celebration in which more than 20 Cardinals and 200 Bishops from across
the world took part and hundreds of married couples renewed their vows.
The solemn Mass was celebrated in several languages and was broadcast
throughout Mexico and abroad.
The Holy Father also took advantage of
the occasion to announce the next World Meeting of Families to be held
in Milan, Italy, in 2012. The following is a translation of the Pope's
Message, which was given in Spanish and which concludes this world
Dear Brothers and
I warmly greet you all
at the end of this solemn Eucharistic celebration with which the
Sixth World Meeting of Families in Mexico City is ending. I thank
God for the many families who, sparing no effort, have gathered together
around the altar of the Lord.
I particularly greet
cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of State, who has presided at this
celebration as my Legate. I would like to express my affection and
gratitude to Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, and likewise to the members of
the Pontifical Council for the Family of which he is President, to
Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop and Primate of Mexico, and
the Central Commission that has overseen the organization of this Sixth
I extend my gratitude to
all who with their self-sacrificing dedication and devotion made the
Meeting possible. I also greet the Cardinals and Bishops present at the
celebration, especially the members of the Mexican Bishop's Conference,
and to the Authorities of this beloved nation, who have generously
hosted this important event and made it possible.
You Mexicans know well
that you are very close to the Pope's heart. I think of you and offer to
God the Father your joys and your hopes, your plans and your anxieties.
In Mexico the Gospel has put down deep roots, forging its traditions,
its culture and the identity of its noble people.
It is necessary to guard
this rich patrimony so that it may continue to be a source of the moral
and spiritual energy needed to face today's challenges with courage and
creativity, and may be handed on as a precious gift to the new
With joy and interest I
have participated in this World Meeting, above all with my prayers,
giving specific guidance and attentively following its preparation and
development. Today, through the means of communication, I have come on a
spiritual pilgrimage to this Marian Shrine, the heart of Mexico and of
all America, to entrust all the world's families to Our Lady of
This World Meeting of
Families has aimed to encourage Christian homes so that their members
may be people who are free and rich in human and Gospel values, on their
way towards holiness; that is the best service that we Christians can
offer contemporary society.
The Christian response
to the challenges that confront the family and human life in general
must face consists in reinforcing trust in the Lord and the vigour that
derives from faith itself, which is nourished in attentive listening to
the Word of God.
How beautiful it is to
gather as a family to let God speak to the hearts of its members through
his living and effective Word. In prayer, especially in the recitation
of the Rosary, as it was recited yesterday, the family contemplates the
mysteries of the life of Jesus, interiorizes the values on which it
meditates and feels called to embody them in its life.
The family is an indispensable foundation
for society and for peoples, just as it is an irreplaceable good for
children, whose coming into the world as the fruit of love, of the total
and generous gift of their parents, deserve to be born.
As Jesus demonstrated by
honouring the Virgin Mary and St Joseph, the family occupies a
fundamental role in a person's upbringing. It is a true school of
humanity and perennial values. No one has given life to himself. From
others we received life, which develops and matures with the truths and
values that we learn in our relationship and communion with others.
In this regard, the
family founded on the indissoluble matrimony of a man and a woman is the
expression of the relational, filial and communal dimensions. It is the
setting in which men and women can be born with dignity, and can grow
and develop in an integral manner (cf. Homily at Holy Mass for the
Fifth World Meeting of Families, Valencia, 9 July 2006;
L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 1 2 July 2006, p. 7).
educational task is complicated by a deceptive concept of freedom, in
which caprice and the subjective impulses of the individual are exalted
to the point of leaving each person locked within the prison of his own
The true freedom of the
human being derives from his creation in the
image and likeness of God. For this reason freedom must be exercised
responsibly, always opting for the authentic good so that it may become
love, a gift of self.
For this reason, more
than theories, the intimacy and love that are characteristic of the
family community are needed. It is at home that people truly learn to
live, to value life and health, freedom
and peace, justice
and truth, work,
harmony and respect.
Today more than ever the
witness and public commitment of all the baptized is necessary to
reaffirm the dignity and the unique, irreplaceable value of the family
founded on the marriage of a man and a
woman open to life, and also of human
life in all of its stages.
Legal and administrative
measures must be promoted that support families with their inalienable
rights, necessary if they are to continue to carry out their
extraordinary mission. The witnesses given at yesterday's celebration
show that today too the family can stand firm in the love of God and
renew humanity in the new millennium.
I wish to express my
closeness and to assure my prayers for all the families that bear
witness to fidelity in especially difficult circumstances. I encourage
the many families who, at times living in the midst of setbacks and
misunderstandings, set an example of generosity and trust in God, in the
hope that they will not lack the assistance they need.
I am also thinking of
the families who are suffering because of poverty, sickness,
marginalization or emigration and, most especially, of Christian
families that are being persecuted for their faith. The Pope is very
close to all of you and accompanies you in your daily efforts.
Before concluding this
meeting, I am pleased to announce that the Seventh World Meeting of
Families will take place, God willing, in Italy, in the city of
Milan in the year 2012, on the theme: "The family, work and
celebration". I am deeply grateful to Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi,
Archbishop of Milan, for his kindness in accepting this important
I entrust all the
families of the world to the protection of the Most Holy Virgin, so
widely venerated in the noble land of Mexico under the title of
Guadalupe. To her, the one who always reminds us that our happiness lies
in doing Christ's will (cf. Jn 2:5), I now say:
Most Holy Mother of
who have shown your love
and your tenderness to the
of the American continent,
fill with joy and hope all
the peoples and families of the world.
We entrust to you,
who go before us and guide us on our
journey of faith
towards the eternal Homeland,
the joys, the plans, the anxieties and
the desires of all families.
to you we turn, trusting in
your tenderness as Mother.
Do not ignore the prayers
we address to you
for the whole
world's families in this crucial
period in history;
instead, welcome us all in your heart
and guide us
on our way towards
the heavenly Homeland.