.- On the eve of Pope Benedict’s visit to the 7th World Meeting of Families in Milan, the city’s archbishop believes there are real signs of hope that Christian family life is undergoing a revival.
“I think that the signs are not few,” Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan told CNA on May 31.
“It is enough to look at the reality that still today the great majority of parents and grandparents want what is technically called ‘Christian initiation,’ that is to say the introduction and accompaniment of their children to a personal encounter with Jesus in the Christian community.”
The five-day gathering in the northern Italian city runs from May 30 to June 3 and is examining the theme “The Family: Work and Celebration.” The event is often compared to World Youth Day but for Catholic families rather than just young people. It brings together hundreds of thousands of people from over 150 countries to pray, celebrate and study marriage and family life.
Cardinal Scola hopes this year’s meeting will highlight the many reasons for hope in present-day family life which “are spoken about very little” since there is “always a tendency to put the spotlight on the most problematic elements.”
He explained that in his parish visits as Archbishop of Milan he is starting to see “an enormous variety of experiences, new relationships, sharing, and attention to broken families by numerous Christian families.”
He is also witnessing a strengthening of inter-generational solidarity during the current financial crisis, with families “trying to maintain a unity among their different generations.” This is often giving hard-pressed married couples “room to breathe,” he said.
Tomorrow, June 1, Pope Benedict will begin the first of his three days in Milan. He will arrive in the late afternoon, at which point he will address pilgrims and attend a concert in his honor at the world-famous Scala Theatre. His visit will reach its climax on Sunday, June 3 with the celebration of a morning Mass with families at the city’s Bresso Park.