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Ukraine: Card. Bassetti, “today it is the Church who needs to take on special responsibility for the family, threatened by divisive and ephemeral lifestyles”

“Old Europe needs to rediscover the joy of the Gospel and the beauty of Christian life. There is a need for a new evangelisation, a young faith to awaken those who are spiritually inactive and give new hope to those who are discouraged in life because of suffering, poverty and solitude”. Card. Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve and president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), said this in his address to the pilgrims at the Marian Shrine of Zarvanytsia, Ukraine, on Saturday, 14 July. The cardinal, who returned to Italy today, had accepted the invitation of His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head and father of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. “The many candles burning in front of the Shrine tonight represent the many small flames of faith which, when joined together, show to the world that immense light which is the loving message of Jesus, Saviour of all mankind”, he continued: “I would like to address in particular the many young people present, exhorting them ‘not to let themselves be robbed of hope’, as recommended by Pope Francis, as well as not to be deceived by the allurements of the world; rather, always seek the meaning of life, in listening to the Word of God and taking care of your family and the Church. Our contemporary society despises the values of life, the importance of the family and of the faith community, while also extolling individualism and selfish wellbeing. However, the family is the first place where charity is practised and true faith is passed on. Your difficult experiences during the dark years of persecution testify to the fact that it was the families, in the privacy of their homes, who saved the Church from disintegration. Today, it is the Church who needs to take on a special responsibility for the family – even more than she has always done -, since it is threatened on many sides by divisive and ephemeral lifestyles”.

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