1 Million Attend Closing of World Meeting of Families

Church Has a Message to Share, Says Cardinal López Trujillo

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MANILA, Philippines, JAN. 26, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Church still has a message to share regarding the fundamental cell of society, a papal legate said at the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families.

About 1 million people attended today’s Mass, presided over on behalf of John Paul II by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

The cardinal said: «The Church still has a word to say on the subject of the family to 21st century society, as well as a model to offer.»

At the Vatican, meanwhile, John Paul II greeted the faithful who gathered at midday in St. Peter’s Square. In his address, he presented the family «as the privileged way of dialogue among different religions and cultures and, therefore, of reconciliation and peace.»

«Yes!» the Pope exclaimed. «The faithful and fruitful union of man and woman, blessed by the grace of Christ, constitutes an authentic Gospel of life and hope for humanity.»

«But, which family is it? Certainly not that inauthentic one based on individual egotism,» he said. «Experience shows that such a caricature of the family has no future and cannot give a future to any society.»

Six cardinals, 245 archbishops and bishops, and 360 priests participated in the Mass celebrated in the Quirino Grand Stand, site of the 1995 World Youth Day.

The closing of the meeting coincided with the feast of the Holy Child of Cebu, a southern Philippine city, which has honored the God Child since 1575. The shrine there attracts millions each year.

The 4th World Meeting of Families, which started Wednesday on the theme «The Christian Family: Good News for the Third Millennium,» gathered families from 76 countries.

During the first three days of the meeting, a theological-pastoral congress also took place, under the motto «The Christian Family: Good News for the Third Millennium.» A second congress was organized for youths.

John Paul II addressed a gathering of 350,000 people by satellite television Saturday. He presented the family as the «educator par excellence of persons, indispensable for a true human ecology.»

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