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1st Fruits of Family Meeting

Interview With Communication Secretary of Mexico’s Bishops

MEXICO CITY, JAN. 15, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The promotion of family values was one of the most important messages transmitted during the first two days of the 6th World Meeting of Families in Mexico, according to a spokesman.

Father Omar Sotelo, the executive secretary of the Commission for Pastoral Communication for the episcopal conference of Mexico, spoke with ZENIT regarding the fruits of the first two days of the theological-pastoral congress of the event, which is under way through Sunday in the Mexican capital.

Q: How was the second day of the 6th World Meeting of Families?

Father Sotelo: We began the day with the enthronement of a faithful replication of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which in 1531 was imprinted on the tilma of St. Juan Diego and until today has remained intact. Through this, the Virgin remains present and manifests her maternal love for Mexico and the families of the entire world.

From the wee hours of the morning, more than 10,000 participants from all over the world began to arrive to the conference hall, the Family Expo, the chapels and confessionals, adoration of the blessed Sacrament, and to meet up with all the priests, bishops, cardinals, seminarians, religious and volunteers that are participating in the event. It is impressive to see thousands of souls in an environment of so much closeness and communion.

Q: What topics were the most relevant of the round tables from Wednesday?

Father Sotelo: The round table of the organizations that help in the formation of values, was presided over by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The first intervention was Father Saúl Ragoitia, parish priest of the Diocese of Queretaro, who commented that today values are hard to transmit, and for this reason families need help to educate their children. And it is precisely the parish that is the principle support in this work.

Sister Marilyn Barrio, representative of the Focolares, assured that the family has a fundamental and unsubstitutable role as a transmitter of values for the new generations, and affirmed that today “the family also has the DNA of all the wounds and dramas of our times.”

Father Álvaro Corcuera, director-general of Regnum Christi and the Legionaries of Christ, clarified that the congregation and apostolic movement he represents are not seeking to be protagonists, but rather to serve and collaborate with all the other ecclesial realities.

Representing the Neocatechumenal Way, Giovanni Stirati explained that the Way seeks to evangelize the family that lives in the middle of various challenges in today’s society.

The Schönstatt movement presented very positive testimonies of what life is like when Mary is at the center of families.

Doctor Eduardo Zainos, representative of the Superior Institute of Studies for the Family and the network of the Universities Anáhuac, commented that education is not just a tool to acquire knowledge, to learn about that which surrounds us, but rather it is a method of instruction in life since the transmission of fundamental values occurs through the supreme value for which one should live: love.

Q: What concrete fruits do you think will come from these days?

Father Sotelo: The fruits will depend on the conscience and the generosity of each one of us, those who are responsible today for forming the present and future generations.

As immediate fruits, we have a profound reflection on themes and issues that affect the family in the world of today, the possibility of interacting and learning about the realities of families and experts from around the whole world, and above all, the commitment, as President Felipe Calderón mentioned, of giving testimony of being families capable of shaping a more just and more human society, based on universal and Christian values.

Q: Have representatives from many countries come to the Family Meeting?

Father Sotelo: Approximately 80 nations — this aspect is perhaps one of the most notorious. Besides there having been enthusiastic participation, the families and speakers come from all five continents. The participation of families and individuals from Africa is particularly notable, proving that despite the distance and the cultural diversity, the value of the family and the formation of children is a constant in all of the cultures of the world.

Q: Much has been said about the Family Expo. What can you tell us about it?

Father Sotelo: The Family Expo of the 6th World Meeting gathers more than 150 presenters who have come together to share diverse charisms and support tools in achieving a healthy and harmonious development in the family, as much in the economic realm as in the cultural and spiritual.

During the expo, a network is [being] made between the presenters, religious movements, congregations, apostolates, ministry programs and sponsors, generating a synergy that shows us that we are not alone in this path of consolidating authentic Catholic families.

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