By Sarah Mac Donald - 07 July, 2015
Pope Francis began his nine-day apostolic visit to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay by urging the faithful to pray for a miracle at the October Synod of Bishops on the family.
The Pope called for prayers for a miracle, so that the Church might find new and effective solutions to the problems of the contemporary family.
“Families today need such a miracle,” the Pope told over 500,000 people at the Parque Samanes, in the city of Guayaquil.
With God’s grace, the Church can transform “what might seem to us impure, scandalous, or frightening,” he said.
In his homily at the Mass on Monday in Guayaquil, a major port city on the Pacific Ocean and 265 kms from Quito, Pope Francis spoke about the miracle at Cana, and encouraged the congregation to follow the example set by the Virgin Mary.
“She teaches us to put our families in God’s hands, to pray, to kindle the hope which shows us that our concerns are also God’s concerns,” he said.
“The family,” he said, “is the nearest hospital, the first school for the young, the best home for the elderly.”
Reminding his listeners that the family is the “domestic Church,” the Pope emphasised the importance of prayer, which “always lifts us out of our worries and concerns.”
He said that in family life, as at Cana, “miracles are performed with what little we have.”
Pope Francis urged the faithful to help those families that are troubled, “those who have run out of wine, those who drink only of discouragement.”
For all those families that follow Mary’s advice, and do what Jesus tells them, the Pope said, the best wine is still to come.
The nine-day apostolic journey to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay, is Pope Francis’ ninth such journey outside Italy.
In his address at the welcome ceremony at the Quito Airport where the papal flight arrived on Sunday afternoon, the Pope said the keys to confronting “contemporary challenges and to building a better future for everyone” are in the Gospel.
The Pontiff assured President Correa of the Church’s cooperation in building a society based on respecting differences, on dialogue and participation in the life of the country with particular attention to the poor and marginalised minorities.