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Listening to the voice of families

· At the Audience, the Pontiff speaks about his approaching trip to Ireland ·

Pain at the tragic death of hikers in Calabria

The Pope identified the spirit of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, as “a time of grace and of listening to the voice of Christian families from around the world”, during his weekly Audience in the Paul VI Hall, on Wednesday, 22 August. Thousands of families are expected to participate in the meeting, which officially began on Tuesday evening, 21 August. The Holy Father, who will join the meeting on Saturday, 25 August and Sunday, 26 August, asked the faithful at the Audience to pray for his upcoming trip. Meanwhile, in a video message played on Tuesday at the opening of the family festival, the Pope spoke about the importance of remembering “the essential place of the family in the life of society and in the building of a better future for today’s young people”.

Describing the meeting as a “celebration of the beauty of God’s plan for the family”, Pope Francis said it was “an occasion for families from all over the world to meet and support one another in living out their special vocation”. Today, he continued they “face many challenges in their efforts to embody faithful love, to bring up children with sound values and to be a leaven of goodness, love and mutual concern in the larger community”. He then expressed his hopes that the Irish appointment will “be a source of renewed encouragement to families everywhere”.

Continuing his series of catecheses on the Commandments, the Pontiff asked all Christians to “take God’s name upon” themselves without hypocrisy or falsities. He then assigned specific “homework”, in particular to parents asking them to: “teach children to make the sign of the Cross” because this is the “first act of faith of a child”.

At the end of the Audience, during his greetings to Italian pilgrims, the Holy Father expressed his sadness at the “tragedy that took place in recent days in Raganello Gorge in the Calabria Region which killed hikers from various parts of Italy”. Entrusting “the deceased to the merciful goodness of God”, the Pope expressed his spiritual closeness to their relatives and to the injured.

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