Great Jubilee News

VATICAN CITY, OCT 15, 2000 (VIS) - In St. Peter's Square at 10 a.m. today, John Paul II presided at a Eucharistic celebration for the Jubilee of Families, attended by more than 200,000 people under a steady downpour. During the ceremony, the Pope married eight couples from Poland, Korea, the Philippines, Italy, Cameroon, U.S.A., Australia and Mexico.

In his homily, the Holy Father referred to the difficulties that exist within marriage. Nonetheless, he said, "Jesus supplied couples with the means of grace for overcoming (such difficulties). ... Indeed, within sacramental marriage, the spouses - as will be the case with the young couples whose marriages I will soon bless - make a commitment to mutually expressing the strong and indissoluble love with which Christ loves the Church, and to bearing witness to it before the world."

The Pope affirmed that "marriage flowers in children: In them that total sharing of life which makes spouses 'a single flesh' finds its coronation. This comes about as much in children born through natural relations between spouses as in those acquired through adoption. Children are not an 'accessory' in the plan of conjugal life. They are not 'optional' but a 'most precious gift,' inscribed in the very nature of marital union."

"When roles are respected in such a way that the relationship between spouses and that between parents and children evolve in fullness and tranquility, then it is natural that within the family other relatives such as grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins also acquire importance and significance." 
He concluded by indicating that the family "cannot close in on itself. The loving relationship between relatives is the first field for that vital openness that projects the family out towards the whole of society."

At the end of Mass and before praying the angelus, John Paul II announced that the next World Meeting of Families will be held in 2003 in Manila, the Philippines.