On Saturday evening the Pope joined a quarter of a million people along Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a Festival of Families. The event was hosted by Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg and featured performances from Andrea Bocelli, Jim Gaffigan, Aretha Franklin, special appearances from families around the world, and a strong address from Francis on the importance of families. He was full of great joy and humor admitting that while family life can be difficult, it’s always worthwhile.
He chose not to follow his prepared text and instead gave the following address off-the-cuff. Among other things he said:
“All of the love that God has in Himself, all of the beauty that God has in Himself, all of the truth that God has in Himself, He gives to the family. And a family is truly a family when it is able to open its arms and receive all of this love.”
“God always knocks at the door of hearts. He likes to do this. It comes from His heart. But, do you know what He likes best? To knock on the doors of families and find families that are united, to find families that love each other, to find the families that bring up their children and educate them and help them to keep going forward and that create a society of goodness, of truth, and of beauty.”
“In families, there is always, always, the cross. Always. Because the love of God, of the Son of God, also opened for us this path. But, in families as well, after the cross, there is the resurrection. Because the Son of God opened for us this path. Because of this, the family is — forgive the term I’ll use — it is a factory of hope, of hope of life and of resurrection. God was the one who opened this path.”
“In families, there are difficulties, but these difficulties are overcome with love. Hate doesn’t overcome any difficulty. Division of hearts doesn’t overcome any difficulty. Only love is capable of overcoming difficulties. Love is a festival. Love is joy. Love is to keep moving forward.”