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Thirty thousand in St Peter's Square

Thirty thousand “I do”s. Thirty thousand “lived out, and with joy, in a world that screams 'don't'”, for they do not feel “strange, out of fashion or superior just because we are trying to be Christian”. Fifteen thousand couples met with Pope Francis this morning, 14 February, for short marriage preparation hour. Almost all of them have a wedding date set within the year. The meeting was an initiative of the Pontifical Council for the Family, with the theme: “The joy of a 'yes' forever”.

“Together with the Pope, we celebrate Valentine's Day in a unique and special way”, said Alfonso, who is “unem ployed but confident”; he traveled to Rome with his fiancée Chiara “to be filled with hope, as did many young couples who live with the same struggles every day”. Alessia, who came from Florence, said that “in the end is not difficult to go against the current if you are happy”. Her boyfriend Alessio agreed, suggesting that “you do not get married after all of your problems have been resolved, you get married to solve problems together”.

The Pope received them all in a big embrace. He prayed with them, and especially encouraged them. He spoke openly with them, and answered questions from three couples. Solidarity was shown to Syrian families through a collection, and “the engaged couples, the women, and young victims of violence” were remembered by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who welcomed the Pope upon his arrival to the Square. “There is no happiness when we only think of ourselves”, the Archbishop emphasized. If it is true that “numbers are not everything”, it can also be said that a “the participation of this many engaged couples was not anticipated, and their enthusiasm says a lot”, said Msgr Paglia. He also expressed the hope that “public leaders will be much more attentive in supporting young people who choose to get married, through dedicated work and family policy. Because the family itself is a richness to society”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 13, 2018

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