Vatican Calls for Pastoral Reflection on "Women of the Street"

Initiative of Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 15, 2005 ( Rome is to host the first international pastoral meeting for the liberation of «women of the street.»

The meeting, promoted by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, will be held in the dicastery’s premises on June 20-21.

The event is taking place within the context of the Church’s concern for people who spend their lives on streets and highways.

In this connection, in 2003 the pontifical council organized the first European meeting of national directors of the highway pastoral programs, and in 2004 the first international meeting for the pastoral care of street children. Both events were held in Rome.

The next meeting will focus on the condition of exploited women.

Cardinal Stephen Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, will open the working sessions next Monday morning. The program and topic of the meeting will be presented by the pontifical council’s secretary, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto.

Discussions planned

«The Trafficking of Human Beings, with Special Attention to Women Destined for Prostitution» is the title of the address to be delivered by Mariette Grange, representative of the International Catholic Migration Commission.

For his part, sociologist Mario Pollo will present an overview of the problem. His talk will be followed by a round-table discussion of experts who will outline a program of pastoral care.

Father Oreste Benzi is scheduled to open the working sessions on the second day, which will focus on a «Pastoral Program of Redemption and Liberation.»

Thirty years ago, Father Benzi founded the Pope John XXIII Community, a private international association of faithful of pontifical right that is dedicated in particular to the care of the marginalized. It works on four continents.

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