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“Family, Live the Joy of Faith!”—CFC at the Pilgrimage of Families in the Year of Faith
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

 

By Cynthia Campos


It was Thursday October 24, 2013, 1:15pm when we arrived at the Leonardo da Vinci Intl Airport in Rome. It was my second time to visit this beautiful city, the first one during the Jubilee Year in 2000 where we were privileged to come so near to the soon to be canonized Bl. John Paul II who was Pope then.

Coming to the Vatican this time with my husband George, my eldest son, Patrick and my youngest daughter, Christen was really an unexpected blessing, for our family, together with about over 90 other Couples for Christ delegates from Italy, UK, Canada and the Philippines represented the CFC global community in this historic Pilgrimage of Families.

At 9:30 am of October 25, Friday, George, my two children and I, together with Mannix and Aileen Ocampo, Joe and Mila Yamamoto appeared at the Dicasterate of the Laity where George, Mannix and Joe updated Canon Law Doctors of the activities of Couples for Christ and presented the various programs of the community in relation to building the church of the home and building the church of the poor. Couples for Christ was assured of their continued support as well as its Pontifical Recognition.

Our group then proceeded to the Dicasterate of Evangelization where we were blessed to meet His Eminence Fernando Filoni, JCD, PhD, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He was delighted to be updated with CFC's missionary work and appreciated the contribution of the global community in propagating the faith and sending missionaries to the different parts of the world. The fruitful one-hour meeting, Cardinal Filoni gifted everyone with a Rosary with the Holy Father's emblem on it. His Excellency, Cardinal Filoni was assigned as Papal Nuncio to the Philippines in 2006 for a year when he was called back to serve at the Vatican.

Finally, on the 26th, we lined up under the heat of the sun together with the other CFC delegates, awaiting for the gates of St. Peter Square to open for the weekend event. It was really an awesome and inspiring experience to be one with the multitude of people from different races, different nationalities and culture sharing that great love for God and standing firmly on their conviction in the sacredness and importance of the gift of love, marriage, family, parents, grandparents and children.

The Pope’s central message that day focused on three assurances:

  1. Despite the struggles and hard work that goes into the defense of the family, and the seeming lack of love in the world, God gave all of us His word from Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, so that your joy will be complete.” Pope Francis added, “Take home this Word of Jesus, carry it in your hearts, share it with the family. It invites us to come to Jesus so that he may give this joy to us and to everyone.” 
  2. Pope Francis took the words from the matrimonial vows, “I promise to be true to you, in joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health; I will love you and honour you all the days of my life,” and honored the married couples, and the soon to be married, for taking a journey into the unknown together, for promising to stay together, and remain healthy to raise their children. The Holy Father also reiterated on the three essential words in marriage: please, thank you and sorry. Pope Francis stated, “The life of a family is filled with beautiful moments: rest, meals together, walks in the park or the countryside, visits to grandparents or to a sick person… But if love is missing, joy is missing, nothing is fun.  Jesus gives always gives us that love: he is its endless source. In the sacrament he gives us his word and he gives us the bread of life, so that our joy may be complete.”
  3. Finally, Pope Francis pointed to the icon of the presentation of Jesus in the temple, a beautiful picture of three generations—Simeon and Anna, Joseph and Mary, and Jesus in Simeon’s arms. He describes the elderly couple representing faith as memory, and proceeds to ask the congregation, “Do you listen to your grandparents? Do you open your hearts to the memories that your grandparents pass on?” The Pope urged the faithful to reflect on the role of grandparents in the family, exhorting that a people that does not listen to its grandparents is one that dies as they are considered the wisdom of a people. Pope Francis stresses, “Like the Holy Family of Nazareth, every family is part of the history of a people; it cannot exist without the generations who have gone before it.”

All throughout the weekend, people praying, singing and playing music. Everywhere, you can hear different languages being spoken. There were smiles and laughter in people's faces, nobody was complaining even if they were standing for a long time. There were presentations, dances, songs, testimonials and storytelling for the children. And before blessing the faithful, Pope Francis reminded everyone, “Remain ever close to Jesus and carry him to everyone by your witness.”

 




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