12 June 2021
Forum Amoris Laetitia
Amoris Laetitia: the conclusions of the Forum
Summary (conclusions) of the fourth and last day of the Amoris Laetitia Forum
The second and final session of the final day of the Forum “Where are we with Amoris Laetitia? Strategies for the pastoral application of Pope Francis’ Exhortation” began with a presentation of the various initiatives for the Amoris Laetitia Family Year. One of the most interesting features introduced is the First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, established on 31 January by Pope Francis.
Vittorio Scelzo, who manages the Dicastery Office for the Elderly, pointed out how the pandemic has shown us the Holy Father’s farsightedness on the issues of our throwaway culture, of coming together and of relationships.
It is for this reason that the focus of this World Day is on the coming together of grandparents and grandchildren, of young and old. Given that many parts of the world will still have measures in place in July that will exclude the possibility of older people being able to participate, we ask young people to go and visit them, where possible, or to organise to meet them on social media or internet”.
With regard to the Eucharistic celebrations to mark the World Day, the Dicastery suggests that on Sunday 25 July in every community there should be a Mass dedicated to grandparents and the elderly; that the bishops should celebrate in the cathedral or in a significant place; and that every parish should dedicate at least one of its liturgies to this World Day. Mr Scelzo concluded by saying that we would like grandparents and grandchildren, young and old together, to participate wherever possible.
Lastly, Cardinal Farrell presented the conclusions of the Forum. In these, he identified a number of points that sum up the work of the Forum over the past few days.
Families today need to be aware that the sacrament of marriage has given them a mission that pastors also share; the main contribution to family ministry is offered by the parish as it is a family of families in which small communities, ecclesial movements and associations live in harmony; there is a need for more effective training for priests, deacons, religious, catechists and other pastoral workers, and lay people must take part in training courses; the training of people who will accompany couples in their preparation for marriage must be a priority: spouses who have taken these courses can help to instruct other families, and so create a chain of instructors that can run courses for more and more families; family pastoral ministry must be basically missionary and reach out to people wherever they are; special attention must be given to families undergoing a marital crisis or having other difficulties: pastoral care of those who are separated, divorced or abandoned, with particular regard to children, the disabled and the elderly; we must also reach out to families who are estranged from the Church.
Then Cardinal Farrell took up the participants’ request to continue working together through a network of relations between the Holy See and the bishops’ conferences, movements and associations in a spirit of true communion and mutual esteem.
As a final round of questions and answers showed, a network of working together will allow ideas and projects to be shared. This will help us to work more effectively together on a practical level so that we can reach the very heart of pastoral care, which is, families all over the world.