SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND CELEBRATE JUBILEE OF FAMILIES
| VATICAN CITY, OCT 14, 2000 (VIS) - Several hundred thousand faithful joined Pope John Paul
late this afternoon in St. Peter's Square for a highlight of the Jubilee of Families, a colorful, music- and
dance-filled gathering marked by the witness of five families from as many continents, and a talk by
the Holy Father.
Participants in the Third World Encounter of the Holy Father with Families had come for this Jubilee
Year celebration from around the world. They began arriving for today's event about noon and, by the
time the Pope arrived, had filled not only the square but the broad avenue leading up to it, Via della
Conciliazione, and all streets adjacent to the area of St. Peter's Basilica. Earlier in the morning they
had participated in Masses for language groups in basilicas throughout the city of Rome.
Pope John Paul arrived in the Popemobile, travelling down Via della Conciliazione before circling St.
Peter's Square. He was welcomed by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical
Council for the Family. Following this the five families, including several with large numbers of
children, gave witness to their faith and family life.
Recalling that the theme of this Jubilee is "Children: Springtime of Families and Society," the Pope
underlined how "children are the hope that continues to flower. ... They carry a message of life, ... and
they constitute a call to solidarity."
He said that "unfortunately, as we well know, the situation of children in the world is not always what
it should be," especially "in rich countries where bringing a child into the world ... (is often seen) more
as a threat than as a gift." John Paul II lamented the situation of children who are exploited, whose
rights are not recognized, and those "penalized by the scourge of divorce. How sad for a child to have
to resign himself to dividing his love between parents in conflict!"
He underscored the situation of "believers who have divorced and remarried. ... The Church, without
keeping silent about the objective moral disorder in which they find themselves and the consequences
coming from it which regard the practice of sacraments, intends to show her maternal closeness."
Addressing "the tendency to use morally unacceptable practices in generating (children)," he said:
"How different and worthy of encouragement is, instead, the practice of adoption!"
He closed with a triple appeal: to leaders, governments, and organizations, "especially the United
Nations," to "defend families and the respect for human life, right from the moment of conception"; to
mothers to "always be sources of life, never of death!"; to mothers and fathers: "Never be afraid of