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Catechesis by Pope Francis on the Family
General Audience, Wednesday 11 November 2015 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"In these days the Church of Italy is celebrating its National Conference in Florence; cardinals, bishops, consecrated men and women, lay people, all together. I invite you to pray to Our Lady, to say a Hail Mary for them. [Hail Mary....]

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today we will reflect upon a distinctive quality of family life which is learned in the very first years of life: conviviality, in other words the attitude of sharing life’s goods and being happy to be able to do so. Sharing and knowing how to share is a precious virtue! Its symbol, its “icon”, is the family gathered around the dinner table. The sharing of meals — and thus, in addition to food, also of affection, of stories, of events — is a common experience. When there is a celebration, a birthday, an anniversary, we gather around the table. In some cultures it is also customary to do so at times of bereavement, to be close to those who are suffering the loss of a family member.

Conviviality is a sure barometer for measuring the health of relationships: if in a family something has gone awry, or there is some hidden wound, it is immediately understood at the table. A family that hardly ever eats together, or that does not talk at the table but watches television, or looks at a smartphone, is a “barely familial” family. When children are engrossed with a computer at the table, or a mobile phone, and do not talk to each other, this is not a family, it is like a boarding house.

Christianity has a special gift for conviviality, everyone knows this. The Lord Jesus gladly taught at the table, and sometimes portrayed the Kingdom of God as a festive banquet. Jesus also chose meal time to consign to his disciples his spiritual testament — he did so at supper — embodied in the memorial gesture of his Sacrifice: the gift of his Body and of his Blood as salvific Food and Drink, which nourish true and lasting love.

In this perspective we can rightly say that the family is “at home” at Mass, precisely because it brings to the Eucharist its own experience of conviviality and opens it up to the grace of universal conviviality, to God’s love for the world. By partaking of the Eucharist, the family, purified of the temptation to close in on itself, is strengthened in love and fidelity, and broadens the borders of its fraternity in accordance with the heart of Christ.

In our time, marked by so much closure and by too many walls, conviviality, created by the family and expanded by the Eucharist, becomes crucial. The Eucharist and the families it nourishes can overcome closure and build bridges of acceptance and charity. Yes, the Eucharist of a Church of families, capable of restoring to the community the effective leaven of conviviality and mutual hospitality, is a school of human inclusion that does not fear confrontation! There are no little ones, orphans, defenseless, wounded and disappointed, desperate and abandoned, whom the eucharistic conviviality of the family cannot nourish, refresh, protect and harbour.

Recalling family virtues helps us to understand. We too have known and still know, what miracles can happen when a mother fixes her gaze and attention, protection and care on the children of others, in addition to her own. Until recently, one mother was enough for all the children in the courtyard! Indeed, we are well aware what strength is acquired by a people whose fathers are ready to go to protect everyone’s children, because they consider children an undivided gift, that they are happy and proud to protect.

Today many social contexts create obstacles to familial conviviality. It’s true, today it is not easy. We have to find a way to recover it. At the table we talk, at the table we listen. No silence, that silence that is not the silence of monks, but the silence of selfishness, where each one is focused on himself, or the television, or the computer ... and does not talk. No, not silence. It is important to recover that familial conviviality and adapt it to the times. Conviviality seems to have become something that is bought and sold, but it is something else this way. Food does not always represent a fair sharing of goods, that can reach those who have neither bread nor affection. In wealthy countries we are prompted to purchase an excess of food, and now we need to rectify that once again. And this meaningless “business” diverts our attention from the true hunger of the body and of the soul. When there is no conviviality there is selfishness, each one thinks of him- or herself. All the more so because advertising has channeled people to yearn for snacks and desire sweets. Meanwhile so many, too many brothers and sisters do not have access to the table. It is rather shameful!

Let us look to the mystery of the Eucharistic Banquet. The Lord breaks his Body and pours out his Blood for all. Truly no division can withstand this Sacrifice of communion; only the attitude of falsehood, of complicity with the evil one can exclude one from it. No other indefensible gap can withstand the power of this broken Bread and this shed Blood, the Sacrament of the One Body of the Lord. The living and vital covenant of Christian families, which precedes, supports and embraces in the dynamism of its hospitality the toil and joy every day and cooperates with the grace of the Eucharist, which is able to create communion ever anew with its power which includes and saves.

Precisely in this way the Christian family will show the breadth of its true horizon, which is the horizon of the Church, Mother of all mankind, of all the abandoned and the excluded, in all peoples. Let us pray that this familial conviviality may grow and mature in the time of grace of the forthcoming Jubilee of Mercy."


"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française. C’est aujourd’hui la fête liturgique de Saint Martin qui a évangélisé les campagnes de France. Je salue aussi les Hongrois, car il est né en Hongrie. Je confie à sa protection vos communautés et vos familles, afin que, nourries régulièrement de l’Eucharistie, elles puissent toujours devenir pour le monde des écoles de cordialité, d’accueil et de charité.
Que Dieu vous bénisse.

[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini di lingua francese. Oggi ricorre la festa liturgica di San Martino che ha evangelizzato le campagne di Francia. Saluto anche gli ungheresi, perché lui è nato in Ungheria. Affido alla sua protezione le vostre comunità e le vostre famiglie, affinché, nutriti regolarmente dell’Eucarestia, possano sempre divenire per il mondo delle scuole di cordialità, di accoglienza e di carità.
Che Dio vi benedica.]

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including those from the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ghana, Japan, Korea andthe United States of America. Upon you and your families I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you all!

[Saluto i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’odierna Udienza, specialmente quelli provenienti da Regno Unito, Danimarca, Paesi Bassi, Ghana, Giappone, Corea e Stati Uniti d’America. Su tutti voi e sulle vostre famiglie, invoco la gioia e la pace del Signore. Dio vi benedica!]

Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an alle Pilger deutscher Sprache. Besonders grüße ich die Schülerinnen der Mädchenrealschule St. Ursula aus Donauwörth. Im Monat November gedenken wir besonders der Armen Seelen und begleiten sie mit unserem Gebet. Der Herr segne euch alle.

[Rivolgo un cordiale saluto a tutti i pellegrini di lingua tedesca. Saluto specialmente gli studenti della Mädchenrealschule St. Ursula di Donauwörth. Nel mese di novembre ricordiamo in particolare le anime dei defunti e accompagniamole con la nostra preghiera. Il Signore vi benedica tutti.]

Saludo a los peregrinos de lengua española y a todos los grupos provenientes de España y Latinoamérica. Roguemos para que cada familia participando en la Eucaristía, se abra al amor de Dios y del prójimo, especialmente para con quienes carecen de pan y de afecto. Que el próximo Jubileo de la Misericordia nos haga ver la belleza del compartir. Gracias.

[Saluto i pellegrini di lingua spagnola e tutti i gruppi provenienti da Spagna e America latina. Preghiamo perché ogni famiglia partecipando all’Eucaristia, si apra all’amore di Dio e del prossimo, specialmente per coloro che mancano di pane e di affetto. Che il prossimo giubileo della Misericordia ci faccia vedere la bellezza della condivisione. Grazie.]

Saúdo os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, particularmente os fiéis brasileiros de Aracaju, Divinópolis, Pernambuco e São Paulo. Faço votos que este encontro que, nos faz sentir membros da única família dos filhos de Deus, vos ajude a renovar em vossos lares o desejo de valorizar ainda mais os momentos de convívio junto com as vossas famílias. Que Deus vos abençoe.

[Saluto i pellegrini di lingua portoghese, in particolare i fedeli brasiliani di Aracaju, Divinópolis, Pernambuco e São Paulo. Auspico che questo incontro, che ci fa sentire membri dell'unica famiglia dei figli di Dio, vi aiuti a rinnovare nelle vostre case il desiderio di valorizzare ancora di più i momenti di convivialità insieme alle vostre famiglie. Dio vi benedica.]

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، مع اقتراب يوبيل الرحمة لنرفع صلاتنا لكي تستقي المشاركة العائليّة على الدوام قوّة وحيويّة من سرّ جسد ودم ربّنا يسوع المسيح فتحمل الإدماج والخلاص للجميع! ليبارككُم الربّ!

[Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua araba, in particolare a quelli provenienti dal Medio Oriente! Cari fratelli e sorelle, con l’avvicinamento del Giubileo della Misericordia preghiamo affinché la convivialità familiare possa attingere sempre di più forza e vitalità dal Sacramento del Corpo e Sangue del Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo così da portare inclusione e salvezza a tutti ! Il Signore vi benedica!]

Witam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Dzisiaj w Polsce obchodzicie Święto Niepodległości. W kontekście tego wydarzenia pragnę wspomnieć to, co powiedział św. Jan Paweł II: „Nie można bez Chrystusa zrozumieć dziejów Polski (Warszawa, 2 VI 1979). Służąc Ojczyźnie, trwajcie w wierności Ewangelii i tradycji Ojców. Niech Bóg błogosławi Polskę i każdego z was. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.

[Do il mio benvenuto ai pellegrini polacchi. In Polonia, oggi si celebra la festa dell’Indipendenza. In questo contesto ricordo ciò che disse San Giovanni Paolo II: “Senza Cristo non è possibile capire la storia della Polonia” (Varsavia, 2 VI 1979). Perseverate nella fedeltà al Vangelo e nella tradizione dei Padri al servizio della vostra Patria. Dio benedica la Polonia e ciascuno di voi. Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!]

S láskou vítam pútnikov zo Slovenska, ktorí sprevádzajú svojich biskupov počas ich návštevy Ad limina Apostolorum, osobitne kňazov, seminaristov, zasvätené osoby i všetkých veriacich.
Drahí bratia a sestry, vaša návšteva Ríma nech posilní povedomie príslušnosti k Cirkvi. Sprevádzajte vašich biskupov intenzívnymi modlitbami a nezabudnite na modlitbu aj za mňa.
Zo srdca žehnám všetkých vás i vašich drahých vo vlasti.

[Saluto con affetto i pellegrini della Slovacchia che accompagnano i loro Vescovi nella visita Ad limina Apostolorum, specialmente i sacerdoti, i seminaristi, le persone consacrate e tutti i fedeli.
Cari fratelli e sorelle, la vostra visita a Roma rafforzi la coscienza della appartenenza alla Chiesa. Accompagnate i vostri vescovi con intense preghiere e non dimenticate di pregare anche per me.
Di cuore benedico tutti voi ed i vostri cari in Patria.]

* * *

Un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana! Saluto il Gruppo ecumenico di Farfa Sabina; i partecipanti all’incontro sulle cure palliative; l’Ordine degli Assistenti Sociali e il Coordinamento delle Libere Associazioni Professionali.

Oggi celebriamo la memoria liturgica di San Martino, Vescovo di Tours, figura popolarissima specialmente in Europa, modello di condivisione con i poveri. L’anno prossimo, in felice coincidenza con il Giubileo della Misericordia, ricorrerà il 17° centenario della sua nascita.

Rivolgo un saluto ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli. Il Signore vi aiuti, cari giovani, ad essere promotori di misericordia e riconciliazione; sostenga voi, cari ammalati, a non perdere la fiducia, neppure nei momenti di dura prova; e conceda a voi, cari sposi novelli, di trovare nel Vangelo la gioia di accogliere ogni vita umana, soprattutto quella debole e indifesa."

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