Sharing in the Joy of Love in Marriage and Family is a pastoral plan to implement Amoris Laetitia in the Archdiocese of Washington, released earlier this week by His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl. Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, gave his first broadcast interview about his new pastoral plan to Morning Air® on Relevant Radio®.
The pastoral plan is based on Amoris Laetitia, an apostolic exhortation written by Pope Francis about love in the family and published in 2016. “The whole purpose of the pastoral plan is to concentrate on the whole document and its beautiful teaching and its challenge to us, to walk with people who are having difficulty understanding and grasping that whole teaching,” explained Cardinal Wuerl.
“Amoris Laetitia is rich in the great historic received tradition of the Church on marriage, family, and how significant that is in God’s plan for us. Once we have renewed that teaching—which has remained unchanged in the life of the Church—then we have to move to our contemporary culture where that teaching is heard and where it is appropriated if people are able to understand it,” said Cardinal Wuerl.
Part II of the pastoral plan is entitled, The Way of Faith and Contemporary Culture. “Really, this second chapter has its roots in Synod on the New Evangelization, where Pope Benedict called us all together to discuss how the world has so radically changed that our teaching just isn’t understood,” said Wuerl. It aims “to remind us that we have to work with people where they are, and understand those who don’t understand as quickly as we do what the Church’s teaching is all about.”
It’s all about accompaniment, which Cardinal Wuerl explains is simply pastoral ministry. “The Church has the task of teaching and then helping people grasp and appropriate that teaching.” The pastoral letter gives specific examples of ways that pastors can reach out to a wide variety of different people within the parish – youth, young families, older adults, immigrants, single parents, and those with special needs, to name a few.
In his pastoral letter, Cardinal Wuerl concludes, “Amoris Laetitia is a call to compassionate accompaniment in helping all to experience Christ’s love and mercy. Neither the exhortation nor this Pastoral Plan presents a list of answers to each individual human concern. Rather, both call for a pastoral approach to many people – married, single, and divorced – who are struggling to face issues in life, the teaching of the Church, and their own desire to reconcile all of this.”
Prayer to the Holy Family (page 55 of Sharing in the Joy of Love in Marriage and Family)
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love; to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division; may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth, make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer. Amen.