(AsiaNews) - The 7th World Meeting of Families is "an extraordinary
event that can support ordinary life," said Card Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan
(pictured) during a press conference
in one of the halls of the Milan Convention Centre (Fiera Milano City). The meeting
(30 May-1 June) took three years to prepare. It will host hundreds of speakers and
7,000 representatives from about 150 countries. Some 5,400 volunteers will be
at hand to help visitors, not to mention local parishes and families who opened
their doors to welcome conventioneers. Contrary to a widespread belief that
such large gatherings come to nothing, this meeting "will be felt in Milan,
Lombardy and around the world," Card Scola said. This is because the "normal
family, constituted by a man and a woman, tied by bond of fidelity and open to
life" is a resource and an asset in contemporary society.
Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, spoke in
the defence of the normal family against other forms of association as a real
support for society and the economy. "The
normal family, united in matrimony with two or more children, is happier" than
all other forms of union, the cardinal said, citing the results of a study that
will presented more extensively in the coming days. For this reason, "it is to
the greater advantage" of society.
when it is poorer," such a family "is richer in human relations between
spouses, parents, children and siblings." This "wealth" has an external impact
as well because "it produces quality human capital that can face the task of
work and participate in the celebration of religious rites. This has in turn a positive
feedback on work."
the cardinal, cultural, political and economic forces should not penalise
family life, which should be protected instead by specific laws, taxes and
part-time employment. Sunday should also be a day of rest.
'Family: work and celebration' as its central theme, the meeting focused on the
family's public dimension. Hence, work is where the family meets the outside
world, celebration is how it "humanises" time.
the meeting, a pastoral theological congress will also take place, Mgr Franco
Brambilla, bishop of Novara. The three-day congress will show how the family
can be an "engine" that opens up society. This way, it will be possible see how
the wider structures of work influence the family, the couple and children's
education. It is hoped it will also show how family life can "humanise" such structures.
participants will speak in morning sessions. Other activities are scheduled for
the afternoon of 31 May in a number of cities in the region of Lombardy. The same
will happen at various venues in the city of Milan on the afternoon of 1 June. Thus,
people from around the world will have an opportunity to relate their own experience.
Eugenia Scabini, dean of the Faculty of Psychology at Milan's Catholic
University, and consultor (adviser) to the Pontifical Council, the meeting and
the stories people bring will be a "radiant" contribution to a world caught up in
nothing but tragedies, a sort of gift families make to society. "Presenting
people who live generously and openly at a time when everyone looks inward" is "a
gift to families of believers and non-believers alike."
the schedule of activities, go to Family2012.
For the first
time, the World Meeting of Families will host a meeting for children and
teenagers centred on the idea of the garden. It will in fact be located in a
garden where participants will learn to recognise, protect and celebrate its
the duration of the meeting, Benedict XVI will impart plenary indulgence to all
participants, via mass media as well.
the end of their press conference, Cardinals Scola and Antonelli together with
Lombardy President Roberto Formigoni inaugurated the International Family Fair,
an exhibition area for organisations, associations, movements and trade unions
devoted to the defence of the family.