St Joseph’s feast day kicks off reflection year on Amoris Laetitia
By Ben Smith, Director of the Office of Life, Marriage and Family
It is fitting that today, on the Feast of St Joseph, the Church begins a year of reflection on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. This document focuses on the joy of love in the family that was exemplified in St Joseph’s family: “The covenant of love and fidelity lived by the Holy Family of Nazareth illuminates the principle which gives shape to every family, and enables it better to face the vicissitudes of life and history.” (AL 66)
Today is the fifth anniversary of the publication of Amoris Laetitia and the year of reflection will end at the conclusion of the tenth World Meeting of Families in Rome in June next year. The year aims to reach every family around the world so that they can benefit from the insights contained in Amoris Laetitia and share in the preparation for the World Meeting of Families.
Amoris Laetitia recognises that families face many challenges in the 21st Century – just as the Holy Family did in the first. Pope Francis encourages every family to “look to the icon of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Its daily life had its share of burdens and even nightmares, as when they met with Herod’s implacable violence.”
In the document Pope Francis calls on the Church to reach out and accompany families or couples who may be struggling. He says that Christian families are called to help each other as part of missionary outreach in their local communities. Most importantly Amoris Laetitia calls married couples to deepen their conjugal love by reflecting on and living out St Paul’s great hymn to love in 1 Corinthians 13:5-8 that was witnessed in a unique way by St Joseph and Our Lady in their marriage.
A website to provide resources for this year has been established at www.amorislaetitia.va.
A number of Tasmanian based events and programs will be organised by the Archdiocesan Office of Life, Marriage and Family over the course of this special year of reflection.
After the disruption of 2020, the Church is leading us on a pilgrimage by drawing us close to the example of St Joseph and the Holy Family to encourage every Christian family to play a role in helping to renew solidarity in our communities and be icons of self-giving love and joyful faith.
St Joseph, Pillar of Families, pray for us.