The entire Filipino nation is looking forward in prayerful anticipation to the visit of Pope John Paul II to the country, when he comes to grace the Fourth World Meeting of Families in Manila on January 22 to 26, 2003, Manila
Archbishop Jaime L. Cardinal Sin revealed during a press conference in Villa San Miguel last June 26.
It will be the third visit of the Holy Father, who first came to
Manila in 1981 for the beatification of Lorenzo Ruiz and Companion Martyrs, and in 1995 for the celebration of the 10th World Youth Day.
The 2003 gathering with the Pope, which is expected to draw thousands of families from around the world, will be the first time the celebration is held in Asia. The first 1st World
Meeting of Families was held in Rome in 1994, the 2nd in Rio de Janeiro in 1997, and the 3rd again in Rome in 2000.
The general theme for the 4th
World Meeting of Families is "The Christian Family: Good News for the Third Millennium," Each day of the celebration will have a sub-theme: Day 1, "
The Christian Family Today: Evangelization in a Multi-Cultural and Multi-Religious World of the Third Millennium"; Day 2, "Pastoral Care of the Family and Ecclesial Renewal"; Day 3, "
The Church, the Ecumenical Movement, and Inter-religious Encounter: Evangelization ad Extra."
Invited to speak on the occasion are experts in the pastoral care of the family including
three cardinals of the Roman Curia in the Vatican, internationally known theologians and pastors, leaders, founders and spiritual directors of religious movements and outstanding lay leaders of the Church.
The international event will be highlighted by two simultaneous congresses on January 22 to 24 at the World Trade Center. The International Theological Pastoral Congress
(ITPC) will focus on the family's role in the light of the third millennium. Concurrent with this is the Congress of Sons and Daughters, which hopes to heighten appreciation of
young people for their families and their roles as seedbeds of Christian faith.
Other activities which are open to the public are the Eucharistic Celebrations for Families
on Pilgrimage in 16 selected parish churches on the morning of January 25. The Mass will be celebrated in nine languages for foreign delegates and in six dialects for Filipino
delegates. A Barrio Fiesta welcome and lunch will follow, In the afternoon, the Festive Meeting with Testimonies from families from five continents on various topics.
Significantly, a Filipino family which experienced a hostage situation under the Abu Sayyaf will be one of the families to give a testimony on healing and forgiveness before
the Pope. There will also be a vigil with the Pope in the evening of the same day.
The event will culminate with a Mass in the morning of January 26, which will be presided by the Holy Father.