Put Family First, Urges Cardinal

Says Economic Concerns Can Wait

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HONG KONG, NOV. 27, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Joseph Zen is urging the faithful in his diocese to put their families before their economic worries this Christmas.



In his pastoral letter for Advent, the bishop of Hong Kong reminded those affected by the global financial meltdown that families "share the joy during good times and the pain in adverse conditions."

"Neither business commitment nor social life should deprive a husband and wife of the tenderness of being together. Children should not come home to find their parents always away," the cardinal said.

"'To live together' is the secret to the success of a family," he continued. "Husband and wife must use every possible means to spend time together and have time to be close to their children. Christmas and the feast of the Holy Family encourages us to strengthen or, if necessary, to revive the tenderness of the family.

"Christmas is a feast that gathers the family. Let us begin with Advent: The Church has a special liturgy encouraging us to make our homes churches."

Cardinal Zen also encouraged the use of the Advent wreath, saying that lighting "one more candle on each Sunday of Advent can create a wonderful atmosphere."

Cardinal Zen, who attended the October world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God, recalled that the recent synod encouraged the reading of the Bible, and urged families to reflect on the readings of the Mass together everyday.