On Sunday 4 October, Pope Francis opened the Ordinary Synod on the Family by celebrating Mass in St Peter’s Rome. In his homily, he focused on the importance of love and identified the most important parts of the first reading from Genesis 2:18-24 as solitude and the love between a man and a woman and the family.
He went on to explain that, just as Adam was lonely without Eve, our society is lonely without meaningful relationships. He mentioned especially the elderly who are often forgotten, young people who live in a throwaway culture, and refugees who are far from home.
Addressing the subject of marriage, Pope Francis said we are not made to be alone. God blesses human love and we should seek to follow God’s plan for a happy union between a man and a woman
He went on to discuss the love of the family, quoting Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) and encouraged us to seek true and faithful love.
He spoke about the need for the Church to be charitable, faithful and truthful in its missions. He affirms that the Church it does not change with popular opinions but is loyal to the sacredness of life and merciful like Mary.
Pope Francis reminded us again at the end of his homily that the Church teaches authentic love and closed by saying that we must seek out the lost and welcome them, because a Church with its doors closed is not a bridge but a roadblock.
Cardinal Vincent and Bishop Peter Doyle are present at the synod, which takes place from 4 to 25 October, to represent the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
The full text of the Pope's homily can be read here.
Bishop Peter Doyle is accompanying Cardinal Vincent at the synod, and in a short report, gives his thoughts following the opening Mass and his hopes for the coming weeks: