VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 26, 2010 (Zenit.org) - The next World Meeting of Families is not until 2012 in Milan, but Pope Benedict XVI is asking families and parishes to begin preparations a year in advance (2011) availing of Pope John Paul II's apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio”.
The German Pontiff made this request in an August 23, 2010 letter to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli. The Vatican released the letter this week. The theme for the upcoming 7th World Meeting of Families is: "Family: Work and Celebration." The Holy Father's letter reflected on these themes, and the appropriate balance of work and rest.
"Work and celebration are intimately connected in the life of families: they condition choices, influence relations between married couples and between parents and children, affect the relation of families with society and with the Church," the Pontiff noted. "Holy Scripture tells us that the family, work and the feast day are gifts and blessings of God to help us to live a fully human existence. Daily experience attests that the authentic development of the person includes the individual, familial, and communal dimension, activities and functional relationships, as well as openness to hope and to the Good without limits."
In this light, Benedict XVI lamented the modern organization of work, "in function of market competition and maximizing profit," and the concept of rest or celebration as an "occasion for escape and consumption."
He said both these factors "contribute to the break-up of the family and the community and to the spreading of an individualistic lifestyle."
"Thus," the Pope continued, "it is necessary to promote reflection and efforts at reconciling the demands and the periods of work with those of the family and to recover the true meaning of the feast, 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."
Characterizing the World Meeting of Families as a "privileged occasion to rethink work and celebration," he affirmed that the event "must connect to an adequate journey of ecclesial and cultural formation" if it is to bear fruit.
"It is my wish, therefore, that already in the course of 2011, the 30th anniversary of the apostolic exhortation 'Familiaris Consortio', the great charter of family pastoral care, might be taken as a valid guide with initiatives at the parish, diocesan and national level, aimed at throwing light on experiences of work and celebration in their truest and most positive aspects, with particular regard to the effect on the concrete life of families,"he said. "Christian families and ecclesial communities of the whole world should thus feel called and involved and enter solicitously onto the path toward Milan 2012.'"