Pope to travel to Spain for July Families meeting

Benedict XVI will preside over the conclusion of the Fifth World Meeting of Families in July which will include an evening of song and dance from families, the Vatican announced this week.

Catholic News Service reports that the Pontifical Council for the Family is organising the meeting, which will run 1-9 July in Valencia.

The gathering will focus on "transmitting the faith in the family" and will feature catechesis and theological discussions in separate sessions for children, young people and adults.

The Pope is expected to attend an evening celebration of song, dance and testimony from families chosen to represent different parts of the world.

During the Mass on 9 July, couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries will renew their vows.

Pope John Paul II called the first World Meeting of Families at the Vatican in 1994, the UN-declared International Year of the Family.

Meanwhile, AAP reports that Benedict XVI plans to honour the victims of the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau when he visits later this month, including a Catholic priest made saint by John Paul II for giving up his life for another inmate.

The German-born Pope will visit the former camp where Nazis killed some 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, on the last day of his pilgrimage to Poland.

Benedict will deliver a speech in Italian to survivors and members of the Jewish community in Poland. A prayer for peace will be made in Benedict's native German to stress the symbolism of his visit to a place where the language brings ominous associations.

"The Germans set up the camp so there is a historic link, but the appeal for peace goes to the entire world," Lubaszka said.

Benedict will also pray in the cell where the Nazis killed the Rev. Maksymilian Kolbe after he volunteered to give up his life in place of a stranger, inmate Franciszek Gajowniczek, who was the father of a family.

John Paul made Kolbe a saint in 1982 and Gajowniczek died of old age in 1995.

Benedict will also light the candle placed in the cell by John Paul II during his visit in 1979.

He will then meet with Carmelite nuns who moved their nunnery from the camp to a site nearby at the urging of John Paul II in 1993. The Jewish community had argued that the cross on their nunnery harmed the memory of the camp's Jewish victims.

Pope to spend 26 hours at family meeting in Spain in July (Catholic News Service 15/5/06)
Pope to honor Holocaust victims, priest (Jerusalem Post/Associatd Press 15/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Fifth World Meeting of Families

'Open hearts' to immigrants, pope says, urging Muslim reciprocity (Catholic Online/Union of Catholic Asian News/Catholic Online 16/5/06)
French nun recounts miracle healing by John Paul II (Catholic World News 16/5/06)
Pope Urges Reciprocity in Muslim-Christian Ties (Zenit 15/5/06)
Benedict XVI Echoes the Fatima Message (Zenit 15/5/06)
George Weigel on Benedict XVI's Poland Trip (Zenit 15/5/06)
The Fatima Pope (Part 2) (Zenit 15/5/06)
Pope's Address at Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love (Zenit 15/5/06)

17 May 2006