December 30, 2012
To: The Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Archdiocese of New Orleans
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, at the recent Synod in Rome, repeated his call for a Year of Faith and a focus on the New Evangelization. The concluding statement from the Synod emphasized “the essential role of the family in the transmission of the faith” and stated that a new evangelization is unthinkable without acknowledging a special responsibility for families.
Therefore, in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, we declare 2013 as a “Year of Family and Faith.” The Year of Family and Faith begins today (December 30, 2012) on this Feast of the Holy Family. During this Mass, your family will be asked to recommit yourself to Christ as a family and will receive God’s blessing to strengthen you in your call to be a holy family. Family life is filled with joys and struggles, peaceful moments and tension, sickness and health. In all of these moments we are called to see a faithful God offering us his love and calling us to be a family united in faith.
Throughout 2013, special programs and events will be offered to enrich your family life. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities. In particular, I invite all families to commit themselves on Sunday to attend Mass together and to spend quality time as a family. This may mean rescheduling other activities, thus seeing God and members of our family as our priority on Sunday.
The old saying – “The family who prays together, stays together” – is still relevant today. Praying a blessing before a meal or a night prayer as a family helps us to focus on God and on our love and care for one another. As we strengthen our individual families, we strengthen the Church and our community. Strong families will curb the violence, murder and racism we experience in our community. Please join me in this special observance throughout 2013.
As we begin this Year of Family and Faith, I wish your family God’s abundant blessings and pray that you will be united in faith and become a holy family.
With the assurance of my prayers and calling upon the intercession of Mary and Joseph for your family, I am
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond
Archbishop of New Orleans