Sunday, December 29, 2013

"We Look to the Family" – Francis Gives 2014 Centerpiece An Early Start

At the Noonday Angelus on this feast of the Holy Family, the Pope turned his sights to the New Year and his already-indicated focus for 2014 on the life of the family.

Of course, the centerpiece of the push is next October's Extraordinary Synod on the "pastoral challenges" facing the domestic church, the responses to the preliminary survey for which are due in Rome from the global episcopates by the end of January, and among the US bishops must be submitted to Washington by this Tuesday.

In addition, however, Francis said today that the family focus will figure at what's now apparently become a two-day consultation of the College of Cardinals in advance of the February 22nd Consistory that'll see Papa Bergoglio elevate his first batch of cardinals. (Current expectations have the biglietto of the cardinals-designate being announced on Epiphany Day, 6 January.)

Following a talk that linked the struggles of today's "exiled" migrant clans to those of the refugee family of Nazareth, the Pope offered the following prayer he wrote "to entrust to Jesus, Mary and Joseph" – whose traditional emblems form his coat of arms – "this work of the Synod" and the other related initiatives; the text is the Vatican's English translation....

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour 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.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.
On a related note to all of the above, this year's focus dedicated to those who exist in the shadows – the undocumented, children and the victims of human trafficking – the US church's 2014 National Migration Week begins, per custom, on next Sunday's transferred observance of the Epiphany.