VATICAN CITY — The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, said it was “providential” that Pope Francis has decided to devote the next Synod of Bishops to the family.
Archbishop Paglia said that this synod “is an extraordinary sign of affection of Pope Francis for families,” coming in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and the 1980 Synod of Bishops also focused on the family, which produced John Paul II's 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World).
On Oct. 8, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has convened the Synod of Bishops for Oct. 5-19, 2014, on the theme “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”
In statements to reporters, Archbishop Paglia explained that the Holy Father consulted with him about issues related to the family prior to meeting with the new council of cardinals and that his next meeting with the Holy Father could come during the Pontifical Council for the Family’s plenary assembly.
“Pope Francis is underscoring a path that we should take with wisdom, intelligence and boldness,” the archbishop said. “To take up again the image of the miraculous catch, that of Peter and the small number of fish, we should all go to fish with him.”
Archbishop Paglia made his statements Oct. 10 during a ceremony to announce the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which will take place Oct. 23-25, and the pilgrimage of families, which will take place in the days following the assembly.
He said he hopes Rome will become the capital of the family during those days, and he invited everyone to come to the Italian capital on pilgrimage “to celebrate together with the Pope.”
The event will also be broadcast live for those who are unable to attend, he said.
Some 150,000 pilgrims from 75 nations are expected to be in Rome for the event, which will be translated simultaneously into Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese and French.
The event will include a video presentation about the difficulties families in Syria are currently facing.
Archbishop Paglia noted that, since Vatican II, the Church “has taken many steps in relation to family ministry,” beginning with Gaudium et Spes, the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world, which Pope Francis is “undoubtedly embracing.”
Concluded the archbishop, “The family is the great resource of humanity.”