12 May 2021
Amoris Laetitia Family Year

The influence of the pandemic on families: toward a family-communion style of pastoral care

Gabriella Gambino at the webinar of the CCEE “Family: toward a pastoral care of mission and communion”
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The Family and Life Commission of the CCEE (Council of Bishops' Conferences of Europe) invited representatives of the Bishops' Conferences from all over Europe to the first official online meeting of the bishops' delegates for family pastoral care on the theme Family: toward a pastoral care of mission and communion.

Fifty participants from twenty eight Bishops' Conferences from all over Europe met online for the meeting of National Directors for Family and Life, organized by the CCEE Family and Life Commission, on May 5, 2021. The meeting was opened with greetings from Bishop Arūnas Poniškaitis, Vice President of the Commission for Family and Life and Fr. Martin Michalíček, Secretary General of CCEE.

The first talk, entitled "The Influence of the Pandemic on the Family: toward a family-communion style of pastoral care", was given by Dr. Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. Beginning with an in-depth analysis of the current social situation and the impact that the pandemic has had and is having on families and on the Church, Dr. Gambino underlined the importance of the vocation of the family in the Church and the role it can play in proposing a style of communion starting with the concrete witness of life that it already possesses.

The family has a specific missionary vocation, which stems from Baptism and Marriage, making it the sacramental presence of Christ in the world, as indicated by Amoris Laetitia, and, as such, not only the recipient, but also the protagonist and subject of pastoral action.

Gambino expressed her desire for a commitment to communion as a style of work in the Church that would overcome the difficulties of involving the laity, and in particular spouses, in family ministry and contribute to building an ecclesial "we": "To this end, the first step is to dedicate ourselves to the formation of the laity, and in particular of spouses and young people, so that they understand the importance of their ecclesial mission. Of great help can be the groups and all those realities, even parish ones, which contribute to form with continuity families in an awareness of the importance of the dedication of their own time to the mission and life of the Church".

It is only in this way that we can "imagine a Church-Communion in action: a pastoral care with families that, starting from spousal communion, can be translated into a shared and unitive pastoral style, in complementarity and communion between vocations. The Pope has reminded us several times that especially "in these times no one is saved alone". Not even the Church: she needs her People, of families and of their model of life and love, who know how to be close to those in difficulty."