The Holy Father's presentation of the 10th World Meeting of Families took place through a video message in different languages. As the Holy Father emphasized, it will take place in an unprecedented and multi-centered way, with local initiatives in dioceses around the world, similar to those that will take place simultaneously in Rome, thus favoring the involvement of diocesan communities around the world.
Although Rome will remain the designated venue, each diocese will be able to be the center of a local meeting for its own families and communities. This is designed to give everyone a sense of ownership at a time when travel is still difficult due to the pandemic.
In Rome, the main venue, the Festival of Families and the Theological-Pastoral Congress will be held in the Paul VI Hall, while the Holy Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Square. In particular, delegates from the Bishops' Conferences and international movements involved in the pastoral care of the family will participate.
At the same time, in each of the dioceses, the bishops will be able to act at the local level to plan similar initiatives, starting from the theme of the Meeting and using the symbols that the diocese of Rome is preparing (logo, prayer, hymn and image).
Great desire to meet
Pope Francis explained that "after a year's postponement due to the pandemic, the desire to meet again is great. In the previous Meetings, most families stayed at home and the Meeting was perceived as a distant reality, at most followed on television, or unknown to most families".
"This time, it will follow an unprecedented modality: it will be an opportunity of Providence to hold a worldwide event capable of involving all families who want to feel part of the ecclesial community."
The Holy Father explicitly asked the whole Church to be "dynamic, active and creative in organizing with families, in tune with what will be celebrated in Rome." "It is a wonderful opportunity to dedicate ourselves with enthusiasm to the pastoral care of families: spouses, families and pastors together," he said.
Finally, he encouraged everyone to help each other: "Courage, then, dear pastors and dear families, help each other to organize meetings in the dioceses and parishes of all continents. Have a good journey towards the next World Meeting of Families!"
"Over the years," noted Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, "this important ecclesial event has seen an ever-increasing participation of families. The thousands of people who have participated in recent editions, with the richness of their languages, cultures and experiences, have been an eloquent sign of the beauty of the family for the Church and for all humanity".
"We need to continue on this path, seeking the participation of a greater number of families in this beautiful initiative," added Cardinal Kevin Farrell.
"It is a matter of seizing a precious and unique opportunity to restart the pastoral care of the family with renewed missionary impulse and creativity, starting from the indications given to us by the Holy Father in the exhortation Amoris LaetitiaThe Cardinal Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, Angelo De Donatis, commented.
At the same time, the logo of the event, promoted by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life and organized by the Diocese of Rome, has been disseminated.
The logo recalls the elliptical shape of Bernini's colonnade in St. Peter's Square, a place of identification par excellence of the Catholic Church, and refers to its original meaning, which is the welcoming and inclusive embrace of the Mother Church of Rome and her Bishop addressed to all men and women of all times.
The human figures under the dome, barely perceptible, and the cross at the top, represent the husband, wife, children, grandparents and grandchildren. The idea is to evoke the image of the Church as a "family of families" proposed by Amoris Laetitia (AL 87) in which "love lived in families is a constant force for the life of the Church" (AL 88).
The cross of Christ that rises towards the sky and the walls that protect it seem almost supported by the families, authentic living stones of the ecclesial construction. On the left side, on the thin line of the colonnade, the presence of a family can be observed in the same position as the statues of the saints placed on the columns of the square. These remind us that the vocation to holiness is a possible goal for everyone in ordinary life.
The family on the left, which appears behind the line of the colonnade, also indicates all the non-Catholic families, far from the faith and outside the Church, who are watching the ecclesial event taking place from the outside. The ecclesial community has always watched them attentively, the official explanation underlines.
There is also a dynamism of the figures moving to the right. They move outward. They are families on the way out, witnesses of a Church that is not self-referential. They go in search of other families to try to get closer to them and share with them the experience of God's mercy, notes the Vatican note. The predominant colors, yellow and red, are a clear reference to the coat of arms of the city of Rome, in a graphic line that wants to express an intense bond with the community.
The World Meeting of Families is an initiative of St. John Paul II, continued by Benedict XVI, and then Pope Francis. They began in Rome (1994), and continued in Rio de Janeiro (1997), Rome again (2000), Manila (2003), Valencia (2006), Mexico (2009), Milan (2012), Philadelphia (2015), Dublin (2018), and return to Rome in June 2022, after the postponement this year due to the pandemic, as noted by the Pope.