The Dicastery dedicates itself to the family’s pastoral care, protects its dignity and its identity based on the sacrament of matrimony, and favours its rights and responsibilities in the Church and in society as a whole, so that the institution of the family might better fulfil its ecclesial and social functions. The Dicastery also has the task of discerning the signs of the times, in order to promote opportunities in favour of the family, confront the challenges facing it, and put into practice God’s plan for marriage and the family. It follows the activities of the institutes, associations, ecclesial movements and catholic organisations, national and international, whose goal is to serve the good of families. In the context of pastoral activity for the family, the Dicastery attends to furthering doctrine on the family, and its divulgation through an adapted catechesis. It also encourages study on the spirituality of marriage and the family, and the formative impact of this study, as well as offering guidelines for training programmes intended for those engaged to be married and for young couples, and offering guidelines for programmes that support families in the education their youth in the faith, in Church life and in society. It has, here, a particular attention to the poor and the marginalised. The Dicastery encourages the openness of the family to adoption and to foster care, and to care for the elderly, and intervenes before civil institutions to promote these practices. With a view to these goals and in order to promote a common dynamism in the study of marriage, family and life, the Dicastery has a direct link with the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, both with its Central Session in Rome and with its sessions and associated centres in other countries.