Responding to the Calling of Families to Evangelize the World

Family members wait to meet Pope Francis at the end of the closing Mass of the VIII World Meeting of Families. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Family members wait to meet Pope Francis at the end of the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Near the end of the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, a group of families representing a diversity of cultures were presented to Pope Francis. Representing all of the families gathered, they were blessed and sent to be witnesses of the Gospel in their homes and in their communities. This blessing, like the final blessing of the Mass, is a reminder that all of us are being sent to carry our Lord, who we receive in the Eucharist, out into the world through our words and actions.

This month, the Church concludes an intensive period of reflection on the mission and vocation of the family within the Church and in the world. Throughout this process, it was universally affirmed by all involved that “the family is uniquely important to the Church and in these times when all believers are invited to think of others rather than themselves, the family needs to be rediscovered as the essential agent in the work of evangelization” (Instrumentum Laboris, Synod on the Vocation and Mission of the Family).

With the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, it is the responsibility of each local Church to “prepare, train and empower” families for this evangelizing work and to identify where, in the local communities, our families are being called to service.

How might your family respond to this call?

First, as we do in all things, we should turn to the Lord. Thus, I invite you and your family to pray this prayer that was the prayer of the Synod. Then talk about how you can be witnesses to the God’s love within your circle of family and friends. In other words, how is your family a “domestic church”? That is to say, a school of love? A place “where faith and life makes life grow in faith”? (Homily at Mass for the Conclusion of the World Meeting of Families).

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love, to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection, and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

graciously hear our prayer.