In a meeting with members of the Italian Adult Catholic Scouting Movement, Pope Francis stressed the “educative mission” of the family, noting how every vocation is rooted in this fundamental relationship. The Nov. 8 audience with some 7,000 representatives marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of the movement. Pope Francis acknowledged the “apostolic commitment” shown by the scout members, which testifies to the “virtues of loyalty, fraternity, and love of God and neighbor, generously serving the Church and civil community.” Noting how the scouts often use the term “strada” — or “way” — the Holy Father encouraged those present to follow their call to lead the way in the family, in creation, and in the city. As the “primary place for education,” Pope Francis said, the family is the “community of love and life in which every person learns to relate to others and to the world.” “All vocations make their first steps in the family,” the Pope continued. It is important for movements like the scouts to “reaffirm that education in the family constitutes first priority.” The Pope said Christian parents “the educative mission finds its specific source in the Sacrament of marriage, for which the task of bringing up children constitutes a real ministry in the Church.” Pope Francis also reminded the group members to lead the way in care for creation. Questions concerning the environment cannot be ignored, nor reduced to politics. Rather, it “has a moral dimension which touches everyone.” “Creation,” he said, “is a gift entrusted to us by the hands of the creator.” We, along with the creation which surrounds us, and are moving together toward God to achieve our goal as a “new heaven and new earth.” This “doctrine of our faith” serves as an incentive to strengthen a “responsible and respectful relationship with nature,” the Pope said. The “close contact with nature” implies “not only a respect” for nature, but a commitment to eliminating waste brought about by a society which tends to throw away what is still usable, and could be “given to those in need”. Finally, Pope Francis called the scouts to “lead the way in the city.” He told participants they are “called to be like yeast which ferments the dough,” and offer their “sincere contribution to the bringing about of the common good.” The Pope stressed the importance of promoting the Gospel values with joy, “in a fair and open debate, with various cultural and social instances.” “In a complex and multicultural society,” he said, “ you can give witness to the love of Jesus for every person with simplicity and humility.” In the city, one “often lives in strenuous situations, and at times is at risk of getting lost, of losing the ability to see the horizon, of sensing God's presence.” What people in such situations need is a “compass,” a “heart” that is close by, “oriented” with the meaning of God. Pope Francis concluded his address to the scouts by urging them to be “good missionary disciples of the Lord Jesus, diligently listening to his word, always having faith in Him, who never disappoints, swelling with him in prayer, seeking to be living stones of the Church community.”
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