In his Sunday Angelus address yesterday for the feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis said that he is praying for the forthcoming Synod of Bishops which will focus on the pastoral challenges of the family in our day. “The next Synod of Bishops will address the theme of the family, and the preparatory phase has already begun some time ago. For this reason, today, (on) the feast of the Holy Family, I wish to entrust this synodal work to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, praying for families around the world,” the Pontiff said, “Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.”
Speaking of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Pope Francis said that “God wanted to be born in a human family, he wanted to have a mother and a father, like us. It’s an example that does much good for our families, helping them to become ever more a community of love and reconciliation, in which one experiences tenderness, mutual help, and mutual forgiveness.” The Holy Father reminded the audience that the Holy Family essentially began their lives together as refugees on the run. “The flight into Egypt because of Herod’s threats shows us that God is also there – there where man is in danger, there where man suffers, there where he escapes, where he experiences rejection and abandonment; but he is also where man dreams, hoping to return to his homeland in freedom, designing and choosing a life of dignity for himself and his family.”
The Pontiff said that even in families who aren't really refugees, there are some people who are treated as refugees within their own families. “The elderly, for example, who sometimes are treated as a burdensome presence,” Francis said, “many times I think that one sign to know how a family is doing is to see how the children and elderly are treated in it,” he commented, “Remember the three key phrases: excuse me, thank you, I’m sorry!” the Pope exclaimed, saying that in the family that uses those phrases "there is peace and joy."