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On the way

The two women on their way to Bethlehem appear almost as a single figure in this work in water colour and tempera on paper by the Spanish artist Alfonso de Lara Gallado. 

Their arms seem to form the shape of a star, rays of fire that reach to the sky yet at the same time shine down on earth.It is our greeting to the new year, in the step – light but firmly planted – of a confrontation that continues, becoming ever more substantial. It is a journey that would like to spell out dialogue like a prayer that asks, praises, implores and gives thanks; a journey in which, as Adriana Zarri wrote, “the happy feeling of having arrived is not opposed to the feeling of walking on because every arrival is a stage in a further progression, but also every stage is an arrival in infinity already reached. Therefore reaching further is no longer impatience – flight from – but hope: a race to. And going slowly is not a waste of time, laziness, or warm slippers: it is resting in God’s nest”, as long as the journey is made together. In the account published in these pages Sr Megumi, a Japanese Xaverian Missionary who lived for decades in Brazil before returning to her native country, informs us that every year in Japan almost 28,000 people commit suicide – an appalling number that reveals to us the tragedy of a deep crisis, a daughter of despair because of the lack of real bonds. Therefore a new year is beginning in the hope that the journey together – in dialogue and discussion – will find us well aware of every step we take. It is a journey which starting with this issue – and for the whole of 2015 – will be marked by a new theological page dedicated to the family, such a central reality and so mysterious, “a most beautiful risk”, as it was described by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who has initiated the reflection. “Business”, one of Philip Roth’s characters remarks, “can come to pieces but the family can’t”. We are ready to provide it with elements that support it. (g.g.)

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St. Peter’s Square

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