The center will be a multifaceted complex, offering
resources ranging from a guesthouse for families, to an
auditorium for conferences, a think tank, and a resource
center with psychologists, economists, and other
professionals at the service of families.
The Vatican initiative was an idea of John Paul II's in
1997, but met with difficulties. On the eve of Benedict
XVI's trip to the Holy Land in 2009, the German Pontiff
again took up the project, and it came to be entrusted to
the Charismatic Renewal movement.
The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family,
Vincenzo Paglia, the auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem,
Giacinto Marcuzzo, and the Italian president of
Charismatic Renewal, Salvador Martinez, presented the
initiative Tuesday morning.
It is necessary “to propose again a new culture of the
family,” Archbishop Paglia said, recalling that Nazareth
is a place of extraordinary evocative and symbolic
strength. "It is the place where Jesus grew up, his home,
where he lived with Mary and Joseph. And the place to call
God Abba, Father, as Pope Francis indicated recently,” he
Thus the International Center for the Family will be
built, which, in addition to being a center of family
spirituality and formation, will also be a think tank for
family ministry around the world, and particularly in the
Holy Land and in the Middle East.
Through international projects, it will also give
material support to families in difficulty, particularly
in the Holy Land.
Martinez pointed out that the objective of the
Foundation is the formation and evangelization of families
and their pastoral care. He explained that the Foundation
is directed by an administrative council which includes
five members; three elected by the Association Renewal in
the Spirit and two by the Pontifical Council for the
“Conscious of the great challenge it entails, we have
received with great joy and not a little emotion the
invitation to build, run and animate the 'Pope’s house in
the Holy Land,' a special dwelling for all the families of
the world, in particular those of the Middle East," he
Martinez expressed his hopes “that the International
Center of the Family of Nazareth will be a privileged
place for the spread of the ‘Gospel of the Family,’ a
showcase of all the beautiful, good, true and just that
the family proposes and witnesses to the world."
Nazareth's population is about 40% Christian. The
Center will be built on the hill that overlooks the
Basilica of the Annunciation, on grounds that are the
property of the Holy See.