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In front of the relics of exemplary couples

· Eucharistic celebration opens the Synod of Bishops ·

A prayer in Chinese for the Synod Fathers, one in Filipino for the injured and those who have experience scandal, one in Portuguese for people experiencing war and one in Swahili for all families: these were the intentions raised at Mass in which Pope Francis opened in St Peter's Basilica on Sunday, 5 October, the third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

The Pontiff presided at the Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica, where concelebrating were 191 cardinals, patriarchs, major archbishops, bishops and priest members of the Assize dedicated to the family. During the opening procession, after coming down the central nave, the Bishop of Rome stopped to pray in front of the pillar of St Andrew, located in front of the statue of St Peter, where the relics of St Teresa of the Child Jesus were placed, along with those of the Saint's parents Blesseds Marie-Azélie Guérin and Louis Martin, and of Blesseds Maria Corsini and Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi, a couple from Rome.

Accompanied by the hymn Laudes regiae, Pope Francis reached the Altar of the Confession, where he found an icon realized by the Pontifical Council for the Family for the day for the elderly and grandparents from last week. The image shows the presentation of Jesus in the Temple described in the Gospel of Luke (2:22-38).

At the end of the liturgy of the Word, Francis delivered the homily on the theme of the readings when the people of God are compared to the vineyard of the Lord. The homily was brief, less than seven minutes but, as usual, it was rich in content, recommendations and points for reflection.

The full text of the Pope's homily 

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 22, 2017

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