Trivia about the World Meeting of Families in the Philippines
This is the first time that the World Meeting of Families will be held in Asia. The first was held in Rome (1994) during the Year of the Family, the second in Rio de Janeiro (1997), and the third in Rome (2000) in the framework of the Jubilee of Families.
It is significant that the Fourth World Meeting of Families will be held in the Philippines, the only Catholic country in Asia, which is home to about two: thirds of the world population. However, Christians in Asia comprised only three percent of the entire continent’s population. Thus, a great majority of Asian people has yet to hear and meet Jesus, making Asia a vast mission field for evangelization. Apart from being a missionary recipient, Asia has much to offer the world especially in the way it values families as a great treasure. All these boils down to this year’s theme: “The Christian Family: Good News for the Third Millennium.”
To ensure the success of the Fourth World Meeting of Families, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin declared 2002 as the year of catechetical preparation of the Archdiocese of Manila for the grace-filled event. The Cardinal believes that the success fo the event depends on the spiritual preparation of the Archdiocese of Manila and the entire Philippine Church. The Archdiocesan Catechetical Ministry has been tasked to prepare various seminars and formation modules made available in time for the Fourth World Meeting of Families Preparatory Festivals. These are Festival of Fathers (March 17, 2002), Festival of Mothers (May 12, 2002), Festival of Youth (August 24-25, 2002), Children’s Week (September 29 – October 5, 2002), and Concert for Families (December 14, 2002).
Congresses and activities will be held to mark the Fourth World Meeting of Families from January 22-26, 2003. These are the International Theological and Pastoral Congress (January 23-24, 2003), Sons’ and Daughters’ Congress (January 23-24, 2003), Eucharistic Celebration of Families on Pilgrimage (Morning, January 25,2003), and Festive Meeting of Families with Testimonies (Afternoon, January 25, 2003).
But all are still in prayers that the Holy Father will come to grace the celebration of families. If the Holy Father comes, a vigil will be held in his presence. This event is much hoped for especially by the Filipinos who remember with extreme affection and warm feelings, the World Youth Day with the Holy Father in 1995, which drew almost five million people, the biggest ever gathering assembled for a visit of the Supreme Pontiff. The Meeting of Families will culminate with the Eucharistic Celebration of Families on Pilgrimage in the morning of January 25, 2003, where all over the Archdiocese of Manila and selected churches will host liturgical rites for the participants and will be in various languages