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Papa Francis The First | His Holiness Papa Francisco

SAM Devotes Special Section to the Synod...

Perhaps you noticed St. Anthony Messenger‘s special section on family in this issue? Hard to miss, I know! The Church will surely be buzzing during and after this month’s world Synod of Bishops on families. When the synod topic was first announced, back in 2013, we knew that it would be of high interest to our readers, for obvious reasons. We all need to find new ways to nurture families today.

That has been a big topic in the Church for more than a century, when the changes of the Industrial Revolution started squeezing the traditional family. This magazine, in fact, was born as a way to strengthen families in 1893, two years after Pope Leo XIII, in his influential encyclical on human labor, wrote about the way the newly emerging economy of factories was tearing families apart.

Some 50 years later, the possibility of artificial birth control, and its impact on our understanding of family, became a huge concern of the Church. We all know that Pope Paul VI’s 1968 ban of artificial contraception continues to reverberate today. During those tumultuous 1960s, we even changed the entire format of this magazine to reach families in a new way. In more recent years, the list of stressors has grown: abortion, the ease of marital divorce, growing numbers of couples choosing never to marry at all. Some of us aren’t comfortable talking about it, but gay lifestyles are “out of the closet” with the growing acceptance of same-sex couples, and many of these couples are raising children.

And the global Internet raises family issues, good and bad, of its own. Pope Francis sees these challenges and is devoting not one, but two worldwide synods of bishops to listen, pray, reflect, and offer the Church’s wisdom.

Important? Yes—these synods will be deeply important to a Church made of families. Difficult or not, our whole Church needs to engage in the discussion. St. Anthony Messenger will be a part of it.

To subscribe to St. Anthony Messenger, click here.

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Photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."