A Million Expected for Family Meeting

International Encounter to Be Held in Mexico

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- More than a million people are expected to participated in the VI World Meeting of Families, to be held next week in Mexico City.

Cardinal Ennio Antonelli presented the Jan. 14-18 encounter today at a press conference in the Vatican. Some 30 cardinals, 200 bishops and delegations of families will attend the meeting, which has as its theme «The Family as Educator in Human and Christian Virtues.»

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, will attend as the Pope’s legate and will preside at the closing Mass, to be held at the Marian shrine of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Benedict XVI will be deliver two messages to the international meeting of families via video. One will be shown at the celebration of the family on Saturday, Jan. 17, and the second will be delivered live at the end of the closing Mass on Sunday, Jan. 18.

Preceding the main celebrations will be a theological pastoral congress, which expects some 8,000 participants. The congress will focus on three main points: family relationships and family values; the family and sexuality; and the educational vocation of the family.

More than a million are expected to attend the weekend celebrations, which will take place at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

On Saturday, Jan. 17, the rosary will be prayed and families from Africa, Asia, America, Europe and Oceania will present their testimonies. On Sunday, Jan. 18, Cardinal Bertone will preside at the closing Mass.

Cardinal Antonelli also mentioned the «Family Mosaic» that has been prepared for the meeting, formed of thousands of photographs of families from all over the world arranged to create the image of Benedict XVI.

He also noted that a national competition entitled «A letter to my child» has also been organized, «which will be presented to Benedict XVI as evidence of the profound values and dignity of Mexican mothers.»

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