Editorial | Words of wisdom

"The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. ... Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community."

Pope Francis "The Joy of the Gospel"

Pay attention, 'cause you're in for a treat.

Pope Francis is coming to the United States, and he'll speak to us in his often informal, yet wise approach.

The pope's trip will take him first to Cuba on Sept. 22, then to Washington, D.C., Sept. 23-24, New York Sept. 24-25 and Philadelphia Sept. 26-27. His itinerary is varied, but a highlight will be a visit to the Festival of Families and a Mass to conclude the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Family life has been a key topic for Pope Francis in his weekly audience talks and other addresses. As Catholic News Service reports in an article in the Review this week on Page 22, Pope Francis views the family as a real institution made up of very human, and therefore, limited members who need real help.

Among many examples from his own life and others, Pope Francis describes regular men and women who care for their infirm loved ones, miss a night of sleep and still roll into work the next day as the "hidden heroes" and the "hidden saints" of today. He takes an encouraging, advice-filled approach.

The theme for the World Meeting of Families is "Love is our mission: the family fully alive." This theme was inspired by the words of the early Church Father, St. Irenaeus, who said that "the glory of God is man fully alive."

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has written that "in like manner, the glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves. And rarely can that love be lived out more intimately and fruitfully than in the family.

"The structure of marriage -- if lived faithfully -- naturally points a man and woman outward toward the world, as well as inward toward one another and their children. As Augustine once said: 'To be faithful in little things is a big thing.'"

Simply by living their vocation, a husband and wife become the most important living cell of society, he added. Both the Philadelphia archbishop and Pope Francis have emphasized that love is the glue both for family and society.

As St. Louisans reflect on ways to help people rise from poverty -- a renewed effort that resulted from the unrest in Ferguson a year ago following the death of a young African-American man in a confrontation with a police officer -- we should listen closely to the pope's advice on families, loving others and applying that "glue" to problems that plague our society.

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