Pastoral Letter for the Feast of the Holy Family, December 28th 2008
posted on 28 December 2008
A Pastoral Letter from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, to mark the Feast of the Holy Family (28th December 2008) has been heard at parishes throughout the Diocese of Westminster. (The full text and and audio recording of the Pastoral Letter can be downloaded on this page.)
In the Pastoral Letter, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor stressed the importance of marriage and the family whilst also acknowledging the difficulties families can experience:
'Like the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, every family is a suffering family at some stage or another. But I believe that the family is the foundation of our society today and, in particular, our Catholic families are a special source of grace and witness within the Church and to the wider world. So today, on this feast of the Holy Family, there is an opportunity for married couples to renew their vows of fidelity and love. May God help each one of you in your family situation and bring about a renewal in family life. '
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor also spoke of the important role that single people - including widows and widowers, one-parent families and divorced people play in the family of the Church and of the world.
'I remember well the words of Pope John Paul on his visit to England when he said, “We must reach out in love – the love of Christ – to those who know the pain of failure in marriage; to those who know the loneliness of bringing up a family on their own; to those whose family life is dominated by tragedy or by illness of mind or body”.
Kindness and patience
In concluding the Pastoral Letter, the Archbishop of Westminster stressed the importance of kindness and patience for strengthening familiy life:
'May God help each one of you in your family situation and bring about a renewal in family life. I love those words of St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians: “Be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another: forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you, now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, put on love”. (Col. 3:12-15).'