Pope Promotes Familial Encounters With Christ

Encourages Parents in Mission to Educate Children

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BOGOTA, Colombia, MARCH 29, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging families to live a profound encounter with Christ through Scripture, the sacraments and prayer.

The Pope stated this is a message sent to participants in a meeting of bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean responsible for the pastoral care of families and life. The five-day meeting, which ends Friday in Bogota, is sponsored by the Latin American bishops' council (CELAM) and the Pontifical Council for the Family.

He encouraged the meeting participants to foster "the family's ability to live a profound encounter with Christ through listening to his Word, prayer, the sacramental life and the exercise of charity."

"In this way," the Pontiff affirmed, "they will be helped to put into practice a solid spirituality that fosters in all its members a determined aspiration to sanctity, without fear of showing the beauty of the high ideals and ethical and moral demands of life in Christ."

"To promote this, it is necessary to enhance the formation of all those who, in one way or another, are dedicated to the evangelization of families," he added.

"Likewise," the Holy Father continued, "it is important to trace paths of collaboration with all men and women of good will to continue to intensely protect human life, marriage and the family in the whole region."

Benedict XVI stated, "With his grace, Christ stimulates us to work diligently and enthusiastically to support each of the members of families in the discovery of the plan of love that God has for the human person."

"Hence," he said, "no effort will be useless in working so that every family, founded on the indissoluble union between a man and a woman, will carry out its mission."

This mission, the Pope explained, is "to be a living cell of society, a seedbed of virtues, a school of constructive and peaceful coexistence, an instrument of concord and a privileged realm in which human life will be received and protected, in a joyful and responsible way, from its beginning to its natural end."

He affirmed, "It is also worthwhile to continue to encourage parents in their right and fundamental obligation to educate the new generations in the faith and in the values that dignify human existence."

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