A dozen married couples are participating as auditors in the synod of bishops that begin with Mass on Sunday. One of them is the couple responsible in Brazil for the movement Our Lady’s Teams.
Hermelinda and Arturo Zamperlini of Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, spoke with ZENIT.
ZENIT: Why were you chosen by Pope Francis to take part in the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops? Did you already know Pope Francis before?
Zamperlinis: No, we did not know Pope Francis. We were invited by the Holy See through the Apostolic Nunciature in Brazil, which asked us, in fact last June, if we would agree to take part as Auditors. We accepted immediately!
We believe the choice was made for Our Lady’s Teams Movement, which works in the evangelization of married couples, helping in the quest for sanctity in matrimonial life. As we are at present the leaders of the Movement in Brazil, we believe we were chosen because of the work of Our Lady’s Teams with married couples.
ZENIT: What will be your role during the Assembly?
Zamperlinis: We were invited to be Auditors, and as such we will be attentive and obedient listeners during the whole Synod. On a date and time yet to be determined, we will be able to talk exactly for four minutes, to speak about “The Opening of Spouses to Life,” a text in chapter 1 of the 3rdPart of the Instrumentum Laboris. We will remind of the position of married lay people, that no married couple is allowed to keep for itself the wonderful fruits of matrimonial life.
ZENIT: Describe “Our Lady’s Teams.”
Zamperlinis: Thank God we are very well prepared for this mission. The Movement of Our Lady’s Teams has as its charism Conjugal Spirituality, to live one’s marriage as sanctification of the spouses. In that aspect we understand that we are very well prepared to live the matrimonial vocation, thanks to the instrument of formation and spirituality that the Movement gives us.
ZENIT: The great majority of Catholics do not take part in any ecclesial Movement. In principle, Movements help the faithful to find a better formation. Is it possible to put an end to that very superficial Catholicism that is lived in many places today? The Synod’s preparatory document emphasizes the importance of a “more constant and diligent formation: biblical, theological, spiritual, but also human and existential.” What can Brazil offer in this regard? What proposal can the Church in Brazil make to the universal Church?
Zamperlinis: This reality is not only true of Brazil; it is global. Brazil will be very well represented, in the Synod, by the Lord Cardinals and Bishops. They are highly competent Fathers, lucid and knowledgeable of the Brazilian reality. We are certain that the Church of Brazil will help the universal Church very much. We shall await the results of the Synod.
ZENIT: What is the secret to be victorious in matrimonial and family life? Is it to take part in an ecclesial Movement?
Zamperlinis: To live daily as a married couple and as a family is not an easy task in this secularized world of ours. We have thorns and difficulties to be overcome every day. Prayer in the family and as married couples, and the practice of conversing, of dialoguing frankly on all matters of the family foster the building of a solid and fecund home. And in our case in particular, taking part in an ecclesial Movement helped us a lot, therefore we believe that it will help the great majority of married couples.
ZENIT: Is it fact that a nation that pays more attention to the family progresses more? Why?
Zamperlinis: The family is the cradle of everything. As a general rule, to cultivate a good family, where honest and mature relations are lived, strengthens the human being a lot. De-structured families tend to generate de-structured children. And those that are well formed tend to be the winners in the world, in all the areas of performance.
ZENIT: What are the pastoral guidelines that Brazil could offer the world, in relation to the problems of matrimony today: de facto unions, remarried divorced persons, the situation of children, of single mothers, of access to the Sacraments? Do you think the Church should make a radical change of direction in her ministry?
Zamperlinis: There is an expectation that this Extraordinary Synod, convoked by the Holy Father, will discuss all those issues, so necessary to be debated and solved in our days and that the proposals be presented to intensify the debates and the conclusion for next year’s Ordinary Synod. As a participant in the Synod, Brazil will certainly have much to contribute, thanks to the day to day living of the Brazilian reality, that the Lord Cardinals know so well! And yes, we could offer our living and experience on the subject.