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  October 2019  
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Vatican Secretary of State’s Letter to Participants in 12th National Pilgrimage of Families for the Family (Pompeii)

September 17, 2019. ‘The spousal relationship has at its origin, precisely, the dynamics of love, which moves the heart of a man and a woman, generating the desire to come out of themselves to give their life to the other and form a family’

Here is a translation of the Letter that the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent in the Holy Father Francis’ name, to H.E. Monsignor Tommaso Caputo, Archbishop Prelate and Delegate of the Pontifical Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii, on the occasion of the 12th National Pilgrimage of Families for the Family, organized this year also at Pompeii by the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Movement.

* * *

The Letter

From the Vatican, September 11, 2019

Most Reverend Excellency,

On the occasion of the National Pilgrimage of Families for the Family, the Holy Father desires to have his greeting and good wishes reach the families present and all the participants, expressing heartfelt gratitude to Renewal in the Spirit, to CEI’s National Office of Family Pastoral Ministry and to the National Forum of Family Associations, which promote this gesture of prayer and ecclesial communion, enriched this year by the patronage of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Pope Francis writes thus, in the Message for this year’s World Missionary Day; “One who loves moves, [. . . ], he gives himself to the other and weaves relations that generate life.” It’s significant that you chose this warning, in the imminence of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, through an itinerary of prayer, which celebrates the strength and vitality of family love.

In fact, the spousal relationship has at its origin, precisely, the dynamics of love, which moves the heart of a man and a woman, generating the desire to come out of themselves to give their life to the other and form a family. Prayer consolidates this communion and moves spirits not only towards Heaven, but also toward the one who lives next door. In past generations, families were the same. As evening came, they gathered around the hearth for the recitation of the Holy Rosary. That fire radiated faces, solidified bonds and inundated of beneficial harmony the relations between husband and wife, between parents and children, and was extended to the closest relatives. And that prayer recited together, enlarged hearts to forgiveness, healing the eventual conflicts that there were in that day. By praying the Rosary in your pilgrimage, the families will receive the same benefits because, as the Pontiff affirms, “the family that prays together stays together” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. 227). Our Lady of the Rosary loosens again today the knots that arise in conjugal relations and pushes to reconciliation also between family and family, opening the doors of one’s home to brothers and sisters suffering loneliness or fleeing from hunger and war, in search of an embrace.  We are all called to be missionaries of the merciful love of a Father who “so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believe on Him may have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus’ Mother points out the way and, as at Cana of Galilee, elicits the miracle of the new wine for all our families (Cf. John 2:1-11), opening paths of solidarity and peace for all peoples.

As Saint Paul VI affirmed: “Mary’s yes is a lesson for all Christians and an example to make of obedience to the Will of God the way and means of one’s sanctification” (Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, 21). It is in this light that your pilgrimage also prepares the 10th World Meeting of Families, which will be held in Rome in 2021 and will have as its theme: “Family Love: Vocation and Way of Sanctity.” In fact, the path to sanctity needs the typically feminine harmony, which flows from the heart of the Virgin of Nazareth.

The Pope counts on you and asks that the more fragile families — those that live the tragedy of separation, the most indigent, those that don’t find work or that have lost it, those that are afflicted by sufferings and mourning –,  may become ever more the object of your care and accompaniment.

While he asks that you pray for him and for his service to the Church, His Holiness entrusts your journey to the maternal intercession of Mary, Queen of Families, and he sends from his heart to Your Excellency and to all the participants a special Apostolic Blessing.

In uniting my personal good wishes, I take advantage of the circumstance to express my due respects to Your Most Reverend Excellency


Devoted in the Lord,

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Secretary of State

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]