WASHINGTON (April 11, 1997) -- A worldwide gathering of families with Pope John Paul II has been slated for October 4 and 5 in Rio de Janeiro.
The meeting is sponsored by the Vatican Council for the Family and marks the second meeting of its kind. The first one took place in Rome in 1994 at the close of the International Year of the Family.
Families, married couples and children, and priests, laity and religious who work in family ministries are invited to the meeting in Brazil.
The program consists of a prayer service, Saturday, October 4, that will combine music, testimonies, and artistic expressions of family life from various countries. On Sunday, October 5 the pope will preside at a concelebrated Mass for all who have made the pilgrimage to Rio e Janeiro.
Prior to the meeting, from October 1 through 3, the Council for the Family is hosting an International Theological and Pastoral Congress at the Convention Center in Rio de Janeiro. The theme will be "The Family: Gift and Commitment, Hope for Humanity."
This congress is designed for the leaders of diocesan family ministries, and of national marriage, family, and pro-life associations. It will feature expert presentations and smaller meetings or workshops according to language group. Nearly 1,800 delegates from dioceses, national bishops' conferences, and international organizations are expected to attend.
The National Conference of Catholic Bishops' (NCCB) Committee on Marriage and Family will coordinate U.S. participation in the meeting. The Committee has arranged with Catholic Travel Centre of Van Nuys, California, to offer a travel and accommodations package for U.S. participants. The group will depart from Miami September 28, and return October 6. In addition to attending the two-day meeting with the Pope on October 4 and 5, participants will visit cultural and religious sites in the Rio de Janeiro area and will also have the opportunity to meet Brazilian families and learn about the Church's work in that part of Latin America.
Price and other information about the trip are available from Scott Scherer at Catholic Travel Centre (800-553-5233).