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"Family, Live and Transmit the Faith!"

VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address Sunday at midday, before and after reciting the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

The 5th World Meeting of Families will take place next Saturday and Sunday in the city of Valencia, in Spain. The first such meeting was held in Rome in 1994, on the occasion of the International Year of the Family, promoted by the United Nations.

On that occasion, our beloved Pope John Paul II wrote a long and impassioned meditation on the family, which he addressed in the form of a letter to families worldwide. That great meeting of families was followed by others: in Rio de Janeiro, in 1997; in Rome, in 2000 on the occasion of the Jubilee of Families; in Manila in 2004, which he was unable to attend personally, but sent an audiovisual message.

It is important that today's families also hear the memorable appeal John Paul II left them 25 years ago in the apostolic exhortation "Familiaris Consortio": "Family, become what you are!" (cf. No. 17).

The theme of the forthcoming meeting in Valencia is the transmission of the faith in the family. The theme of the apostolic visit to that city is inspired in this commitment: "Family, Live and Transmit the Faith!"

In so many communities which today are secularized the first urgency for believers in Christ is, precisely, to renew the faith of adults so that they will be able to communicate it to new generations.

On the other hand, the journey of Christian initiation of children and adolescents can become an opportunity for parents to return to the Church and reflect further on the beauty and truth of the Gospel.

In short, the family is a living organism, where a mutual exchange of gifts takes place. What is important is that the word of God, which keeps the flame of faith alive, never be lacking. With a particularly significant gesture, during the rite of baptism, the godfather or godmother lights a candle from the great paschal candle, symbol of the risen Christ and then the celebrant says: "To you, parents and godparents, is entrusted the task of guarding this light so that this child, illuminated by Christ, may always live as a child of the light."

If this gesture, in which the whole meaning of the transmission of the faith in the family lies, is to be authentic, it must be preceded and accompanied by the parents' commitment to further their own knowledge of the faith, rekindling the flame with prayer and the assiduous practice of the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist.

Let us commend to the Virgin Mary the success of the forthcoming great Valencia meeting, and of all the families of the world so that they will be genuine communities of love and life, in which the flame of faith is transmitted from generation to generation.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in six languages. In Italian, he said:]

I follow with growing concern the events in Iraq and the Holy Land. In the face of the blind violence that causes atrocious killings, on one hand, and, on the other, the threat of the aggravation of the crisis which for the past few days has been even more tragic, justice is necessary and a serious and credible commitment to peace which, unfortunately, are not perceived.

Therefore, I invite all to join in confident and persevering prayer that the Lord may enlighten hearts and that no one exempt himself from the duty to build a peaceful coexistence, in recognition that each man is a brother, regardless of the nation to which he belongs.

An important summit of religious leaders, organized by the Interreligious Council of Russia, will be held in Moscow from July 3-5.

At the invitation of the patriarch of Moscow, the Catholic Church will take part with her own delegation. I wish to express my cordial greetings to his holiness Alexy II and to all the participants. This significant meeting of so many exponents of the world's religions indicates the common desire to promote dialogue between civilizations and the pursuit of a more just and peaceful world order.

I hope that, thanks to the sincere commitment of all, areas will be found for effective collaboration to address the present-day challenges in reciprocal respect and understanding. In the case of Christians, it is about knowing one another ever more profoundly and appreciating one another mutually in the light of man's dignity and his eternal destiny.

Assuring my prayer that God may make the summit's working session fruitful, I invoke on all of you the abundant blessings of heaven.

[In French, the Pope said:]

I greet you, dear French-speaking pilgrims. May vacations be for all an occasion of rest and more intense family life to strengthen relations between generations, allowing young people particularly to dialogue with adults on the essential questions of faith and the meaning of existence. With my apostolic blessing.

[In English, he said:]

I welcome all the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. As I prepare to visit Spain for the conclusion of the 5th World Meeting of Families, I ask your prayers for all families, that they may live in accordance with their God-given vocation and benefit from just governmental policies which safeguard their fundamental role in society. May the Lord bless our families with his joy and peace!

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]

Contact

The Vatican
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000

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Keywords

Pope, Benedict, Families, Faith, Angelus, Address

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