AFRICA/UGANDA - Witnesses of the Christian value of marriage, builders of the Church and society

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Kampala (Agenzia Fides) – Cardinal Fernando Filoni met married couples at St. Mary’s Cathedral Church, or rather "Rubaga Cathedral", on October 27, in the context of the concluding celebrations of the Jubilee of the Archdiocese (see Fides 26/10/2017). "In our human families there are various anniversaries, for instance the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary - said the Cardinal. These anniversaries have parallels in the Church, when considered as “Family of God”. A Golden Jubilee is a call for a new beginning, where each of you should be personally challenged by the question: What kind of Church and society do I want today in Uganda, in the Archdiocese of Kampala?
Whatever might be the answer, that kind of Church depends on you; it depends on your witness to the Christian value of matrimony, living the sacrament in full fidelity and educating your children with a sense of responsibility; it depends on your active participation in family apostolate!".
In his speech, Cardinal Filoni focused first of all on God's plan regarding marriage, "an intimate community of love and life between husband and wife". "The mutual love between husband and wife is, in turn, an image, or rather, a living icon of communion between God and His people; a meaningful expression of God’s love for us", he emphasized and therefore explained: "If God has called you to the married life, it means He has entrusted you with this serious mission of being a living icon of the Trinitarian love in God, a living icon of the enduring and irrevocable love. The love married couples have for each other should be a mirror of God’s love for humanity".
Speaking of married love, the Prefect pointed out that husbands and wives need to constantly nurture their love for one another.
Pope Francis, in his latest document on marriage and family, has beautifully spoken of love between husband and wife: "the Pope calls us to love authentically and to realize that this love is most often expressed in very simple ways, not only in great gestures. Being humble, saying please, asking for forgiveness, letting the other person speak – all are small things that express extraordinary love in ordinary ways". The Cardinal therefore invited to help others in "overcoming cultural and social hindrances to the Sacrament of Marriage". In particular, one of them is the cost of wedding ceremonies and the pressure from relatives and friends to make a big show, expensive exchanges of gifts and bargaining among the extended families as well as the big parties that many people feel obliged to hold before the wedding... There we need committed married couples to urge those who want to get married to resist such social pressures, the Cardinal said.
In the concluding part of the speech, the Prefect spoke of the the family: object and agent of evangelization. "The evangelization of the family should be considered a major priority in the Church’s pastoral activity in order to enable it to assume in its turn the role of active subject in evangelization" - he said -. The family should be a place where there is an ongoing formation of members in the faith... Concretely, Christian spirituality ought to find expression in the practice of common prayers, the common attendance at Sunday Mass and the common hearing and meditation of the word of God. The evangelization of the family is inconceivable without a renewed listening to the word of God. It is therefore important that the reading of Scriptures in the families be constantly encouraged".
Before concluding, Cardinal Filoni reminded the parents of their serious role in faith-formation of their children: "It is the duty of parents to create a family atmosphere inspired by love and devotion to God. If the prayers, liturgies and narratives of Scripture are practiced and learned early in childhood, they become deeply engraved in the consciousness of children and remain with them for life. In all this, the good example of the parents is for the children of great importance". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 28/10/2017)