VATICAN, Jan. 24, 2015—In preparation for the upcoming celebration of the World Day of Social Communications, Pope Francis on Friday noted the importance of the human family as the foremost environment where communication is learned and enriched.

“It is in the context of the family that we first learn how to communicate… A womb made up of various interrelated persons: the family is ‘where we learn to live with others despite our differences’,” the Holy Father said in his message to the faithful.

Pope Francis meets got the chance to listen to testimonials from three Filipinos families during the Encounter with the Families at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Jan. 16, 2015. (Photo: Noel Lavin)

‘Laugh, cry together’

“Notwithstanding the differences of gender and age between them, family members accept one another because there is a bond between them. The wider the range of these relationships and the greater the differences of age, the richer will be our living environment,” he added.

Pope Francis said communication is better understood through the closeness fostered among members of the family, for it is where they “learn to embrace and support one another, to discern the meaning of facial expressions and moments of silence, and to laugh and cry together.”

“The family comes alive as it reaches beyond itself; families who do so communicate their message of life and communion, giving comfort and hope to more fragile families, and thus build up the Church herself, which is the family of families,” he said.

Model for communication

The pontiff stressed that the “commonness” present among family members makes it “possible for us to exist and in our turn to generate life and to do something good and beautiful.”

“It is in the family that we learn to speak our ‘mother tongue’, the language of those who have gone before us…This virtuous circle is at the heart of the family’s ability to communicate among its members and with others. More generally, it is the model for all communication,” he said.

The Pope also noted the role of the family as the primary avenue where prayer—“the most basic form of communication”—is handed down to young individuals.

“It was in our families that the majority of us learned the religious dimension of communication, which in the case of Christianity is permeated with love, the love that God bestows upon us and which we then offer to others,” he added.

The Vatican on Friday released Pope Francis’ message for the 49th World Day of Social Communications. It will be celebrated on May 17 with the theme “Communicating the Family: A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love.” (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCP News)