Xth World Meeting of Families “Love in the Family: vocation and path to holiness”

The Xth World Meeting of Families was gathered in Rome, from June 22 to 26, 2022, delegations from around the world on the theme “Loving the family: vocation and path to holiness”. Véronique Lonchamp, Deputy Director of SNFS, responsible for the Family division within the Conference of Bishops of France, was there.

“No Perfect Families” (AL135)

Since the opening of the World Meeting, we have been immersed in the concrete reality of families, through the touching testimonies of couples and families whose lives have been turned upside down by the events and crises they have gone through. To begin with, the Pope urges us to start with our “real situation and, from there, to try to walk together: to be together as a spouse, to be with our family, with other families, with’ Church ‘based on the unconditional love of Christ who gives himself to us daily through the sacrament of marriage.

He also invited the Church to reach out to families and especially to the injured: May our communities “support everyone with open arms”, may they help every couple and every family to respond to their vocation, to progress, to return. on the path when it stumbles in its path and to take a “step further” in advancing this path of holiness.

“Cultures are very different in themselves and each general principle must be cultivated if it is to be observed and applied” (AL3)

During these three days, we went through different situations of conjugal and family life through testimonies but also pastoral experiences that gave us a view of pastoral truths that varied according to continents and culture. It is a great experience to better understand the universal dimension of the Church but also an awareness of the need to inculcate in being with couples and families in all their uniquely complex situations to respond to the current challenges of pastoral care for families in France. .

Pastoral challenges to be addressed

Among the pastoral-focused challenges, I especially keep these few points of attention: the involvement of couples and families from their realities, by being mindful of where they live, living in synodality. the cooperation between the vocation of the priest and the vocation of marriage, educating communities to welcome all situations, caring for families who are victims of addictions or domestic violence, participation to families on existential peripheries, improving the education of young people on affectivity, relationship life and sexuality, training all guides (couples, lay people and priests), initiating support for couples of all period of their married life and not only during their preparation for marriage, update our notice with the help of the current technical means.

The French delegation, showing the diversity of French families

I also remember as a strong ecclesiastical experience at this meeting the kind listening and the many exchanges experienced within our delegation in France. We are 29 with different life circumstances (3 bishops, 2 priests, 1 married deacon, couple, 1 unelected celibacy), life circumstances (1 remarried divorced couple following a path of identification, parents of a homosexual child, a remarried widower, a person abandoned at birth), of faith (1 couple where one believed and the other did not), from different regions in metropolitan France and Martinique, from different movements or associations (AFC, END, Cana, Live and Love, Recognition).

Everyone found their place in the delegation and left with the desire to stay in contact with other members.

The Pope’s request to each of our families

“Allow yourselves to change the Lord, so that you too can change the world and make it a ‘home’ for those who need to be welcomed, for those who need to meet Christ and feel loved. . »

(Address of Pope Francis, Festival of Families, June 22, 2022).

Veronique Longchamp,
Deputy Director of SNFS,
Head of the Family division within the Conference of Bishops of France.

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