Fourth World Meeting of the Holy Father with Families
By Pontifical Council for the Family

His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila, has written the following words to bishops and pro-life groups throughout the world:


"Upon the mandate of the Holy See, through the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Archdiocese of Manila is hosting the Fourth World Meeting of Families from 25-26 January 2003 and the International Theological and Pastoral Congress from 23-24 January 2003. This will be a very historic event since it is the first time that this gathering will be held in Asia. The Holy Father has always expressed his desire to intensify evangelization efforts in this vast continent, which is home to two-thirds of the world's population. He has called the Third Millennium, the "Asian Millennium" - the millennium for the proclamation of the name and Gospel of Jesus in Asia. As Christians, we are called "to share with our Asian brothers and sisters what we treasure as the gift containing all gifts, namely, the Good News of Jesus Christ." (Ecclesia in Asia, 19).


"The theme for the Congress and Meeting is "The Christian Family: Good News for the Third Millennium," which has been chosen by the Holy Father. This is very timely since the role and mission of the different members of the family face increasing difficulties and sometimes confusion, on account of rapid social change and new pressures and threats. Indeed, the family is not just the object of the Church's evangelization efforts but is also recognized as one of the vital agents of evangelization. It is especially through the family that our civilization can truly embody the values and truths of the Gospel."


Following is a brief synopsis of the Program of Activities from January 23-25, 2003:


The Fourth World Meeting of Families will have two congresses. One is the International Theological and Pastoral Congress (ITPC), which is a main feature of such World Meetings. This will involve a study and exposition of various topics related to the theme to be facilitated by experts and theologians and representative families from various countries.


The conference is expected to dwell extensively on the Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia and other documents of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences as they relate to the theme, "The Christian Family: Good News for the Third Millennium."


Simultaneous with the ITPC will be the Congress of Sons and Daughters. The participating children will be from six to 18 years old. A special method of catechesis will be developed to bring about truly participative and interactive sessions -- involving songs, dances, mimes, and games -- aimed at arousing in these young minds the fervor to seek to know Jesus more and to have Him in their lives, and also more, importantly, to bring this knowledge of Jesus and the Good News to other people.


Printed with permission from Priests for Life.


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