Traditional family values are vital for the renewal of modern society, Pope Benedict has told over a million people at the World Meeting of Families in Milan on Sunday.
"We have been given the task of building church communities that are more and more like families... based on a marriage between man and woman," the Pope told pilgrims gathered together from 154 countries.
"Watch over your children and, in a world dominated by technology, transmit to them, with serenity and trust, reasons for living, the strength of faith, pointing them towards high goals and supporting them in their fragility."
And he also spoke to "the faithful who, even though they agree with the Church's teachings on the family, have had painful experiences of breakdown and separation," he said "the Pope and the Church support you in your struggle."
"I encourage you to remain united to your communities, and I earnestly hope that your dioceses are developing suitable initiatives to welcome and accompany you," he added, having earlier said their pain "is the whole community's pain."
Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti was among those attending the celebration. On Saturday, the Pope had said how aware he is of the struggle families face due to the economic crisis, chiding politicians who fail to keep their promises.
He also called for greater acts of charity from ordinary people, suggesting families from rich countries could sponsor families from poorer ones.
Benedict also went on to condemn the modern-day "utilitarian concept of work, production and the market," which "brings in its wake ferocious competition, strong inequalities, degradation of the environment, the race for consumer goods, family tensions."
Especially now in the midst of today's finanicial and social unease, families needed to celebrate Sunday as "the day of man and his values: conviviality, friendship, solidarity, culture, closeness to nature, play, sport," he said.
"Dear families, despite the relentless rhythms of the modern world, do not lose a sense of the Lord's day," the pope said, saying that the practice of taking a day of rest on a Sunday was "an oasis in which to pause... and celebrate the family."
The pontiff announced Sunday that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in 2015 in Philadelphia.