Cuba Meeting Aims to Give Families a Needed Boost

HOLGUIN, Cuba, JAN. 21, 2003 ( Cuba, a nation which sees two divorces for every three weddings, will have its own version of the World Meeting of Families.

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The Diocese of Holguin has organized an encounter of families from Friday to Sunday, paralleling the World Meeting of Families to be held in Manila, Philippines.

The diocesan committee organizing the meeting told ZENIT that the objective is «to promote a process of reflection to identify pastoral lines that are in accord with our ecclesial and social reality.»

The meeting also will commemorate the fifth anniversary of John Paul II’s visit to the island. The Pope said at the time: «Cuba, take care of your families to keep your heart healthy!»

Family life faces hard times in Cuba. In 2000, there were 66 divorces for every 100 marriages celebrated, according to the National Statistics Office.

In the last half of the 1990s, the rate of marriages among cohabitating couples plunged from 56% to 36%, according to the Center of Psychological and Sociological Research.

As a consequence, the number of children born to legally married mothers fell from a dismal 33% in 1990, to 25% in 2000, the statistics office reports.

Talks at the congress will be given by several Cuban bishops in the city’s cathedral.

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