"Big Four" Highlights


Holy Father’s Message

The 7th World Meeting of Families will begin next week in Milan under the theme: “The Family: Work and Celebration.” This theme has special importance for parents who seek a balance between work life and family life in a culture that is increasingly individualistic and a work environment that treats employees more according to their productivity than members of a social web that includes obligations to family and community.

Holy Father’s  Message

Icon of the Holy Family: The World Meeting of Families mosaic icon, created by the Jesuit artist Marko Rupnik, was blessed by the Pope in St Peter’s Square on April 11th. It depicts the Holy Family and the Holy Trinity represented by the Father’s hand supporting the fire of the Spirit over Jesus.

Fathers for Good will be reporting on key aspects of the proceedings in the next two weeks, as the themes touch upon fatherhood and family life.

A number of preparatory catechetical materials have been held in advance of the World Meeting of Families. We have linked to them below.

Here is the an excerpt of the letter by Pope Benedict XVI, published August 23, 2010, announcing the theme, date and location of the 7th World Meeting of Families. It is addressed to Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which is responsible for staging the event every three years.

Letter of Pope Benedict XVI:

Work and celebration are closely connected with the lives of families: they condition decisions, influence relations between spouses and between parents and children, and affect the relationship of the family with society and with the Church. Sacred Scripture (cf. Gen 1-2) tells us that the family, work and holidays are gifts and blessings to help us to live a fully human life. Daily experience shows that the authentic development of the person includes the individual, family and community dimensions and functional activities and relations, as well as openness to hope and to unlimited Good.

In our day, unfortunately, the organization of work – conceived of and implemented in terms of market competition and the greatest profit – and the conception of a holiday as an opportunity to escape and to consume commodities, contribute to dispersing the family and the community and spreading an individualistic lifestyle. It is therefore necessary to promote reflection and commitment which aim at reconciling the needs and schedule of work with those of the family.

They must also aim at recovering the true meaning of celebration, especially on Sunday, the weekly Easter, the day of the Lord and the day of man, the day of the family, of the community and of solidarity.

The upcoming World Meeting of Families affords a privileged opportunity to rethink work and celebration in the perspective of a family that is united and open to life, thoroughly integrated in society and in the Church, attentive to the quality of relationship in addition to the economy of the family nucleus itself. The event, to be truly fruitful, must not, therefore, remain isolated, but must fit into an adequate process of ecclesial and cultural preparation. …

The Seventh World Meeting, like the previous ones will last for five days and will culminate with the “Feast of Testimonies” on Saturday evening and with solemn Mass on Sunday morning. These two celebrations, at both of which I shall preside, will be a gathering of the “family of families.” The overall event will be especially arranged to ensure that the various dimensions complement each other: community prayer, theological and pastoral reflection, moments of brotherhood and exchanges between guest families and those that live in the area, as well as media coverage.

From this moment may the Lord reward St Ambrose's Archdiocese of Milan with heavenly favours for its generous availability and commitment to organization, at the service of the universal Church and of families from so many nations.

As I invoke the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, dedicated to daily work and assiduous in celebrating the feasts of its people, I warmly impart the Apostolic Blessing to you Venerable Brother and to your collaborators and with special affection willingly extend it to all the families involved in the preparation of the important Meeting in Milan.