During the opening festival, Il Volo will perform and share the stage with their own families. Five families will also share testimonies on experiences ranging from forgiveness after a crisis and the call to holiness in the face of tragedy.
This will be followed by a speech by Pope Francis and a performance of the official hymn of the meeting by the choir of the Diocese of Rome.
The first full day of speakers and panels will start on Thursday, June 23. The day will begin with Mass offered in English in St. Peter’s Basilica at 8:30 a.m. local time and conclude with an evening concert and guided tour of the Lateran Palace.
The panels on the first day of the conference in the Paul VI Hall will focus on two themes. The first is Synodality and the Domestic Church and the second will be “Accompanying the first years of marriage.”
On the second day of the conference, Friday, June 24, panelists will discuss the identity and mission of the Christian family with a panel on family life and technology, including social media, and an afternoon speaker on sexual education. The delegates will conclude the day by spending time with parish communities in Rome.
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Saturday, June 25 will begin with Eucharistic Adoration in the Paul VI Hall, followed by a discussion of paths of holiness in family life with a special focus on married saints. Pope Francis is scheduled to offer the main Mass for the World Meeting of Families at 5:30 p.m. local time in St. Peter’s Square.
The World Meeting of Families will conclude with the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square with the pope on Sunday, June 26.
Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the vicar general of Rome, announced on May 31 that a beatified married couple will serve as the patrons of this year’s World Meeting of Families.
Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi were the first married couple to be beatified together by the Catholic Church in the presence of their children. The two were married in Rome in 1905 and beatified by John Paul II nearly 100 years later in 2001.
“In their spousal union, Luigi and Maria welcomed the great gift of life with confidence and joy,” De Donatis said.
All of their four children embraced consecrated life. One son became a Benedictine monk, the other son became a Trappist priest. Their elder daughter entered a Benedictine monastery, and the youngest child became a consecrated laywoman dedicated to the service of others.
“I urge you to embrace the example and witness of the Beltrame Quattrocchi family, which embodies the theme of the upcoming World Meeting of Families, ‘Family love, vocation and the way to holiness,’” De Donatis said.
“Edified by their witness of faith, we entrust to Blessed Luigi and Maria all the families of the world, especially those wounded and in difficulty, tried by poverty, sickness, and war.”
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.