How to Live as a Christian Family

Theme for 2012 gathering for World Meeting of Families has been chosen.

(photo: Shutterstock)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholics, like everyone, often are challenged to balance the demands of family, work and free time, but they also have an obligation to show others there is a Christian approach to all three, said Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan.

“Our being Catholic should become a unique and original way of living the challenges that face every family,” the cardinal said at a Vatican news conference May 24 to discuss plans for the World Meeting of Families 2012.

The international gathering, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, will be held in Milan May 30-June 3, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI is expected to attend.

At the Vatican news conference, Cardinal Tettamanzi and Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the family council, presented catechetical material their staffs developed to help Catholic couples around the world prepare for the gathering.

“The Family: Work and Celebration” is the theme Pope Benedict chose for the 2012 gathering, and while Cardinal Antonelli said specific challenges vary widely around the world, “globalization means that many problems are becoming common everywhere in the world.”

The Pontifical Council for the Family has translated the catechetical material into English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Polish and will send the texts to bishops’ conferences to print, distribute and adapt, he said.

The booklet, which is designed to be used at 10 periodic meetings of small groups of families, offers reflections from the Bible and from papal documents on the themes of marriage and family life, human dignity and labor and rest, celebration and keeping Sunday as the Lord’s Day.

Each chapter includes discussion questions for a husband and wife to talk about and for groups of couples to discuss together.

Father Davide Milani, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Milan, said the group discussions as well as more global sharing through Facebook and other media would ensure that the preparation period is not focused exclusively on the experiences of families in Europe.

The archdiocese has launched a website for the 2012 meeting (, and the Pontifical Council for the Family also has opened a new website ( ), although, as of May 24, most of the content was available only in Italian.

Auxiliary Bishop Franco Brambilla of Milan, who coordinated the drafting of the catechesis, said Catholic couples should be aware of just how much work and free time influence their family life, but they also must recognize that they can “transform the world through work and humanize time with a Christian sense of celebration, especially regarding Sundays.”