This evening in Valencia, Spain, Agustin Garcia-Gasco, archbishop of that city, will inaugurate the International Theological Pastoral Congress on the Family. Cardinals, bishops, theologians, and experts in education, pastoral care of families and the communications media are all due to attend the event, as are various ecclesial movements from some 30 countries.

The congress – which is taking place as part of the Fifth World Meeting of Families and is due to last from July 4 to 7 – will consider various themes associated with the family and reflect upon how best to transmit the faith within families. It will involve talks, reports, testimonies and round table discussions.

Following a contribution from Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy, on “the family and laicism,” the inaugural address will be delivered by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Over the remaining days of the congress – July 5 to 7 – experts will analyze the question of the family in its social, educational, legislative, demographic, economic, juridical and bioethical aspects. Representatives from different Christian confessions, including Orthodox and Evangelical, will also offer reflections on the family from an ecumenical standpoint.

On Friday evening, the International Theological Pastoral Congress will close with a Eucharistic celebration presided by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Between July 4 and 7 a youth congress is also due to be held, in which young people between the ages of 16 and 25 will participate. Its aim is to analyze the problems facing the young and to offer Christian alternatives to the culture of leisure. Finally, a third congress will also be held over the same period, directed at the elderly and focussing on their irreplaceable role within their families.

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