The saintly pontiff entrusted to Mary all families, seeing the home as the most important place of evangelization.
Among all the places of the Church to transmit the Gospel message, St. John Paul II believed the home was the most important.He explains this idea in his apostolic exhortation, Familiaris consortio, quoting St. Paul VI and stressing the need for parents take responsibility in domestic evangelization.
The family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates. In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them. And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and of the neighborhood of which it forms part.
John Paul II reinforced this idea, writing, “As the Synod repeated, taking up the appeal which I launched at Puebla, the future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home.”
This evangelization includes the basic tenets of the faith, but also prayer, “By reason of their dignity and mission, Christian parents have the specific responsibility of educating their children in prayer, introducing them to gradual discovery of the mystery of God and to personal dialogue with him.”
It is a weighty task, one that John Paul II entrusted to Mary, Mother of “the Church of the home.” He did so with the following prayer, a prayer that continues to have relevance, especially as the home becomes more and more a place of catechesis during times of trial.
May the Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of the Church, also be the Mother of “the Church of the home.” Thanks to her motherly aid, may each Christian family really become a “little Church” in which the mystery of the Church of Christ is mirrored and given new life. May she, the Handmaid of the Lord, be an example of humble and generous acceptance of the will of God. May she, the Sorrowful Mother at the foot of the Cross, comfort the sufferings and dry the tears of those in distress because of the difficulties of their families.
I entrust each family to Jesus, to Mary, and to Joseph. To their hands and their hearts I offer this Exhortation: may it be they who present it to you, venerable Brothers and beloved sons and daughters, and may it be they who open your hearts to the light that the Gospel sheds on every family.