My family and I often attended the 11 o’ clock Mass held at the Cathedral of Ferrara. We usually sat near the altar. There was a depiction of Padre Pio there and it seemed to us as though we were sitting near to our spiritual “father”. The few steps were scattered with our children’s toys: the older ones listened to the mass, while the younger ones played. Even at play,they were still before Jesus, and this is why we always chose to take them with us.
One Sunday, instead of the usual priest, the new Bishop of Ferrara arrived to lead the Mass. We were immediately struck by his words: he spoke offamily andprocreation with great authority and ardor.It was Mgr Carlo Caffarra.
After the Mass, the Bishop left the Cathedral heartily acknowledging and engaging with the worshipers. As he walked, his gaze fell upon our large family andhe immediately came over to us.
It was a wonderful experience: he treated us like we had always known each other. He asked us how many children we had, five at the time, anda great friendship was born.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta was so right when she said that friendships based on faith are stronger than family ties.
Over the years, we always remained in touch, and in the meantime he was appointed as Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. He never failed to write to us, to bless us and share our joy when a new child was born in our family. We responded with great joy, thanking him and asking him toalways protect the family and the most helpless of all beings, children.
Thehumility andgreat enlightenment of Cardinal Caffarra made him an unequaled defender of fundamental values. I would like to recount a particularly powerful and remarkably genuine testimony of his regarding the current context of family.
The Cardinal was entrusted with the task of conceiving and founding thePontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family by Pope Saint John Paul II.
“At the beginning of this task” explained Cardinal Caffarra in 2008, “I wrote to Sister Lucia of Fatima through the Bishop because it was not possible directly. Inexplicably, since I did not expect a reply, as I had only asked for her prayers,a few days later I received a long letter with her signature, which is now in the archives of the Institute.”
In this letter, Sister Lucia writes that the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will regard family and marriage.
“Do not have fear” she added, “becausewhoever works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be challenged and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.”
Sister Lucia also stated that Our Lady had already “crushed” the head of Satan.
“It was clear” continued Cardinal Caffarra, “also speaking with Pope Saint John Paul II, that family was at the core, since it has to do with the foundational pillar of creation, the truth of the relationship between man and woman and between generations.If the foundational pillar is damaged, the entire building collapses.”
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