Pontiff Notes Plans to Follow Family Meeting

Asks Prayers for International Encounter

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 11, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is assuring his «lively participation» in the 6th World Meeting of Families this week in Mexico; though not attending personally, he is sending his secretary of state.

The Pope again today asked for prayers for the Jan. 14-18 family encounter when he spoke of it during his address before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

«This great meeting of families,» he explained, «organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family, will unfold in three parts: first the theological and pastoral congress, in which the theme will be explored and in which there will also be a sharing of significant experiences; then there will be a moment of celebration and testimony, which will bring to light the beauty of the meeting of families from every part of the world, united by the same faith and by the same commitment; and finally the solemn Eucharistic celebration, as a thanksgiving to the Lord for the gifts of marriage, the family and life.»

«I have asked Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to represent me,» the Holy Father added, «but I myself will also follow the extraordinary event with lively participation, accompanying it with prayer and through a televised talk.»

«Until then, dear brothers and sisters,» he concluded, «I invite you to implore an abundance of divine grace for this important international meeting of families. Let us do so invoking the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Family.»

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