“The experience of the pandemic,” as the statement from the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life points out, “has highlighted the central role of the family as a domestic Church and underlined the importance of forging links between families.”
Through the various spiritual, pastoral and cultural initiatives envisaged for the Amoris Laetitia Family Year (simultaneous with the Year of Saint Joseph), Pope Francis is exhorting each of the faithful to give witness to beauty and joy of family love.
“In imitation of the Holy Family,” the Holy Father said, “we are called to rediscover the educational value of the family unit: it requires being founded on the love that always regenerates relationships, opening up horizons of hope. Within the family one can experience sincere communion when it is a house of prayer, when affections are serious, profound, pure, when forgiveness prevails over discord, when the daily harshness of life is softened by mutual tenderness and serene adherence to God’s will. In this way,” he continued, “the family opens itself up to the joy that God gives to all those who know how to give joyfully. At the same time, it finds the spiritual energy to be open to the outside world, to others, to serving brothers and sisters, to cooperation in building an ever new and better world; capable therefore of becoming a bearer of positive stimuli; the family evangelizes by the example of life” (Angelus address, 27 December 2020).
For more information see website of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.
Goals of the Amoris Laetitia Family Year
1. To spread the content of the Apostolic ExhortationAmoris Laetitia, so that “people experience the Gospel of the family as a joy that fills hearts and lives” (AL, 200). A family that discovers and experiences the joy of having a gift and in turn being a gift for the Church and society “can become a light in the darkness of the world” (AL, 66). And today's world needs this light!
2. To announce that the sacrament of marriage is a gift and has in itself the power to transform human love. Hence pastors and families need to walk together in pastoral co-responsibility and complementarity, among the different vocations in the Church (cf. AL, 203).
3. To make families the protagonists in family pastoral care. “Enabling families to take up their role as active agents of the family apostolate calls for an effort at evangelization and catechesis inside the family” (AL, 200).
4. To raise young people's awareness of the importance of formation in the truth of human love and the gift of themselves, with initiatives aimed specifically at them.
5. To broaden the outlook and action of family pastoral care, so that it includes spouses, children, young people, the elderly, and those in families whose stability is threatened.
Some resources on the family:eBook: Pope Francis' Catechesis on the Family (Vol. III)
Novena for a Faithful and Happy Marriage: a novena that draws on quotes from Saint Josemaria's writings.
Take a Chance on Happiness: Video clips from Saint Josemaria's preaching and testimonies from British and Irish couples on the challenges and rewards of marriage and family life.