Couples challenged to witness to wounded families
CANBERRA couples Anna and Tony Di Pietro and Faye and Kevin Noonan recently returned from a series of meetings and workshops in Rome, as part of their involvement in the international married couples’ movement Équipes Notre- Dame (Teams).
“It was a most rewarding experience,” Mr and Mrs Noonan said.
“We took the opportunity to listen and share stories with couples and priests from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.
“The private audience with Pope Francis was clearly the highlight of our time in Rome. He had a lot to say in his prepared speech about marriage and the future of Teams. His words were punctuated by the characteristic image of Pope Francis listening intently and warmly chatting with those around him.”
In his address, Pope Francis warmly welcomed members of the Teams movement, saying: “I am happy to receive you, dear leaders and spiritual advisors of Équipes Notre Dame, on the occasion of your world gathering.
“It is clear that a movement of conjugal spirituality such as yours is fully within the care that the Church wishes to have for families.”
He then set out a tough challenge for couples involved with Teams.
“Christian couples and families are often in the best position to announce Jesus Christ to other families, to support them, to strengthen and encourage them,” the Pope said.
“In fact, I would like to insist on this missionary role of Équipes Notre Dame.”
Pope Francis went on to explain his challenge even more clearly, urging the couples to be especially close to wounded families.
“We must have the courage to come into contact with these families, in a discreet but generous way, materially, humanly or spiritually, in those circumstances where they find themselves vulnerable,” he said.
“Finally, I cannot but encourage the couples of the Équipes Notre Dame to be instruments of the mercy of Christ and of the Church towards those whose marriage has failed.
“A united and happy couple can understand better than anyone else, from within, the wounds and the suffering caused by abandonment, betrayal, and a failure of love.”
Following the audience with Pope Francis, the Australian contingent travelled to the Australian Embassy for a meeting with John McCarthy, Australian Ambassador to the Holy See.
Teams has more than 134,000 members in about 80 countries. Leaders came to Rome from many parts of the world including Africa, South America and trouble spots in Eastern Europe and Syria.
The event ended with a closing address from Mgr Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
For more information about Équipes Notre-Dame (Teams), email RegionalTeam@ incanberra.com.au or visit www.teamsoceania.com.au.