Message of greeting to International Gathering of Equipes Notre-Dame

2012-07-22 Vatican Radio

Below is the Pope's message of greeting to the XIth International Gathering of the Equipes Notre-Dame, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone.

Most Reverend Eminence

The Supreme Pontiff, advised of the event in Brasilia of the XIth International Gathering of the Equipes Notre-Dame, has asked me to convey to you this message of paternal greeting to the participants and to all couples from the Movement, which was born of the farsighted pastoral intuition of the servant of God, Henri Caffarel, priest, whose mission has continued to grow over time, through its relevance and urgency. On the other hand, in some ways, it has increasingly confronted the problems and difficulties that marriage and the family are experiencing today in an atmosphere of increasing secularisation.

In this context, couples of the Equipes Notre-Dame proclaim, not only in words, but also through their lives, the fundamental truths about human love and its deeper significance. "A man and a woman in love, a child's smile, peace in the home: this is a sermon without words, but extraordinarily persuasive, in which each person can already sense, transparently, the reflection of another love and its infinite appeal." (Paul VI, to the couples of the Equipes Notre-Dame, May 4, 1970)

Of course, this ideal may seem rather high. This is why the movement encourages its members to constantly drink from the fountains of grace of the sacrament of marriage, and participation at Sunday Mass; beyond the resource of grace from the sacraments, it provides them with great wisdom, a "method" rich in commitments and simple and practical ideas to daily live an embodied spirituality for Christian spouses. Among these, we can highlight "the Sit Down", that is to say, a commitment to maintain a regular time for personal dialogue between the spouses, in which each presents to the other, with all sincerity and in a climate of mutual listening, the issues and topics most important to life as a couple. In our world, so marked by individualism, activism, eagerness and distraction, sincere and constant dialogue between the spouses is essential to avoid the emergence of misunderstandings that grow and harden and that, unfortunately, often end up with insoluble fractures that no one can help to repair. So, cultivate this precious habit of sitting down one beside the other to talk and listen so that you understand each other, constantly, coping with the surprises and difficulties along the way.

In three months, we will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, that in many of its documents offered the Church of our time a renewed face of the value of human love, of married and family life; on this occasion we will begin the Year of Faith, to rediscover all the strength and joy to proclaim the faith in our world and in our time. His Holiness Benedict XVI invites Christian couples to be "the gentle and smiling face of the Church", the best and most convincing heralds of the beauty of love sustained and nourished by faith, a gift of God offered with generosity and magnanimity to all, so that every day, they can discover the meaning of their lives. As a sign of ecclesiastic gratitude and an incentive for the new challenges that we face and as a guarantee of graces and lights from the Most High for the work of the XIth World Gathering of the Equipes Notre-Dame, the Holy Father grants to all participants and their respective families, his much awaited Apostolic Blessing.

I take advantage of this opportunity, to testify to Your Most Reverend Eminence all my sentiments of my fraternal esteem in Christ.

The Vatican, 5 July 2012

Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone
Secretary of State for His Holiness