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Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Vatican City, 28 February 2012 (VIS) - The programme of the Holy Father's forthcoming trip to Milan, Italy, for the Seventh World Meeting of Families was published today. The meeting is due to last from Tuesday 29 May to Sunday 3 June and will have as its theme: "The Family: Work and Celebration". Benedict XVI will be present for the last three days.

The Holy Father will arrive at Milan's Linate airport at 5 p.m. on Friday 1 June, where he will be welcomed by the local authorities. At 5.30 p.m. he is due to meet citizens in the Piazza del Duomo and deliver an address. At 7.30 p.m. he will visit La Scala opera house where a concert is scheduled to be held in his honour.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday 2 June the Holy Father will celebrate Lauds and pronounce a meditation in the cathedral of Milan, in the company of priests and religious. He will then travel by car to the city's San Siro stadium for a meeting with young people who are due to receive Confirmation this year. In the afternoon Benedict XVI is due to deliver an address before the local authorities. At 8.30 p.m. he will move on to Milan's Parco Nord for the Feast of Testimonies of the World Meeting of Families.

On Sunday 3 June, Benedict XVI will preside at a concelebration of the Eucharist, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the Parco Nord. After praying the Angelus he will return to the archbishopric where, that afternoon, he will meet with members of the "Milano Famiglie 2012" foundation and with the organisers of his visit. At 5.30 p.m. the Holy Father will bid farewell to the authorities at Linate airport before boarding his return flight to Rome.

The World Meetings of Families trace their origins back to 1981 when Blessed John Paul II promulgated the Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris consortio" and established the Pontifical Council for the Family. The first meeting was held in Rome in 1994 and they have been taking place every three years since then. Their purpose is to celebrate the divine gift of family, to bring families together to pray, and to increase understanding of the role of the Christian family as a domestic Church and the basic cell of evangelisation.

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