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To the Most Reverend Fr Luis Picazo 
Superior General of the Sons of the Holy Family

1. Knowing that you are celebrating the centenary of the Papal approval of your religious institute, I am happy to send a cordial greeting to all the Sons of the Holy Family. Having received the the seed of their Founder, Bl. José Manyanet y Vives, they want to follow his footsteps today in religious consecration and in the particular mission to serve the Church, primarily through family ministry.

This celebration is a good occasion to reaffirm that original inspiration to "make a Nazareth of every family", making it fruitful "at a time in history like the present ... particularly when this fundamental institution is experiencing a radical and widespread crisis" (Novo Millennio ineunte, n. 47). So I invite you to be leaders of a coordinated and incisive action to bring to every sector of society the evangelical message that sanctifies married life, giving cohesion to the family nucleus which welcomes life, assures education and transmits faith. To this end you can count on more than 100 years of tradition, during which you have developed a particular sensibility to perceive the problems and bring to every home the needed help, material and spiritual, so that it realizes its call to be the first cell of society and a domestic church.

2. The centenary that you now celebrate makes us look at the close link between your apostolic action with the doctrine and Magisterium of the Church, which should inspire your action. You well know the importance your founder gave to the support of the new institute by ecclesiastical authorities and the immense joy that pervaded him when he obtained the canonical approval of Pope Leo XIII, with the decree Attenta salutarium of 22 June 1901.

Bl. Manyanet's concern is that of a faithful son of the Church. It is also the result of a profound spirituality forged in contemplation of the mystery of the family of Nazareth, where cohesion and fidelity go far beyond institutional needs, to become a clear reflection of Trinitarian communion. In proposing the Holy Family as an ideal of Christian life, every means must be used so that in the great family of God that is the Church the most complete harmony and communion reign. In your charism you have a specific root and further reason to be faithful to the needs of an "allegiance of mind and heart" to the Magisterium, that must characterize the attitude and action of all consecrated persons (cf. Vita Consecrata, n. 46).

3. In solemnly celebrating the moment when your Founder, filled with love for the Church and loyalty to her Pastors, saw his project for consecrated life recognized by the Holy Father, I encourage you to follow him and renew your fidelity to the charism recieved. In this way you will continue his work, every day enriching the great spiritual heritage that he has transmitted to you, in order to offer it as an invaluable service to the people of today.

While I ask the Holy Family of Nazareth to make your apostolic efforts fruitful and to share in that singular spiritual experience intensely lived in the home by Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I cordially impart to you the implored Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to all who collaborate with you in the mission of making every family, as Bl. Manyanet said, "a Holy Family".

From the Vatican, 16 June.



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