More than 30,000 people participated last Sunday in the national pilgrimage for the family, organized by the Bishops’ Conference of Brazil, which concluded at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, the patroness of the country.
Bishop Orlando Brandes of the bishops’ Committee on Family and Life, said the pilgrimage was intended to increase awareness about the value and centrality of the family amidst the current crisis.
During the homily at the concluding Mass, Archbishop Lyrio Rocha of Mariana and president of the bishops’ conference, said, “We come to ask the Mother of God and our Mother to extend her hand over the families of Brazil, who are ever more vulnerable because of the great difficulties we must face in our day.”
The family, he underscored, “is the place where we learn the virtues, values, opinions and attitudes that are necessary for authentically living together in society.” This important institution can only be formed from a marriage between a man and a woman, “and therefore it should not be confused with other types of living arrangements,” the archbishop said.
In order to strengthen the family, he explained, “We need to promote an intense and vigorous family ministry,” and more “family associations capable of dialoging with those in public office at various levels” need to be created.
Public officials themselves need to make a greater effort to promote measures that respect, value and protect families,” he said.