By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic Press Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians are called to bring hope to those living through dark times, especially families who are threatened by the ideologies prevalent in the world today, Pope Francis says .
Addressing the Schonstatt Fathers, who were in Rome for their general chapter on September 1, the pope urged them to be “bearers of a message of hope in these dark situations that people go through at every stage of life.” .
“Today there are many marriages in crisis, young people tempted, old people forgotten, children suffering,” he said. “We often find that the nature of the family is attacked by various ideologies, which shake the foundations that sustain the personality of the human being and, in general, society as a whole.”
Additionally, he said, within families there is “a gap of understanding” between the young and the old.
The pope began his speech by congratulating Father Schonstatt Alexandre Awi Mello, secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, who was elected Aug. 21 as superior general of the institute.
According to the Dicastery’s website, he will continue as Secretary of the Dicastery “for the next few months.”
The pope also thanked Fr. Mello for his “collaboration in recent years in communion with the Successor of Peter, for the benefit of the whole Church.”
In his address, the pope encouraged the Schonstatt Fathers to continue their service to the Church and to the world, “notably by accompanying families in the various events and difficulties they are going through.”
Recalling his recent series of general audience lectures on the elderly, Pope Francis stressed the need for an “alliance between generations” that “can save humanity”.
Pope Francis said preserving one’s “personal and family identity” is more than just passing on one’s genetic traits or family name, “but above all the wisdom of what it means to be human, according to God’s plan.”
“Therefore, the mystery of our redemption is intimately linked to the experience of love within families,” the pope said.