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While all eyes were on Pope Francis in Washington and New York on Thursday, LDS apostle D. Todd Christofferson told attendees at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia about Mormon practices that enrich and enhance home life for the faithful.

Christofferson told Catholic and other participants at the gathering that family prayer helps the powerless find empowerment and that family scripture study instills preparation to meet life's challenges, according to an LDS Church news release. He noted that family home evening (a longtime Mormon tradition of spending one evening a week together) strengthens families.

Christofferson urged listeners to take a long view, the release said, quoting him as saying "raising children is like growing a garden. You can't force plants and flowers to bloom when you want, the way you want, but you can do much to provide an environment that makes flourishing likely."

Two LDS families shared their personal experiences, the release added, and the apostle showed a three-minute video of the faith's governing First Presidency detailing Mormon teachings on the family.

"Our high priority on family life is based on our conviction that God created the family — and ordained family life — for his purposes," the LDS leader said. "Hence the conviction that the duties of parents and families, and the principles ... are indeed 'divinely appointed.' "

Francis will visit the Philadelphia meeting later this week.

Peggy Fletcher Stack