Hungary hosts European Family Congress

The Sixth European Congress of the Christian Family Movement, attended by 560 persons, took place at the Archabbey of Pannonhalma from 20 - 24 July. The theme of the meeting was: "The renewal of Europe through the spiritual renewal of families".

The five-day spiritual and cultural community event was attended by representatives of ten countries: Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Portugal, Malta, Norway; but there were participants also from Thailand, Japan and the United States. Members of CFM groups arrived from many towns within Hungary and beyond the border. The ages ranged from newborn babies to the elderly, while the great majority was married couples in their thirties, with lots of children.

Instead of attending a customary conference, the participants had the opportunity to experience a meeting of an exceptional, brotherly, joyful atmosphere. The organizers were aiming at arranging a program integrating body, mind and soul, i.e. the whole person. Their careful work was assisted by 150 voluntary helpers directing the arriving vehicles, taking care for the children, helping at the reception desk or providing „taxi service” between Budapest Airport and Pannonhalma etc. The program included parallel spiritual, cultural and free time activities suitable for every age group. The cca. 250 children were either looked after by babysitters or took part in playful activities, sports programs or group sharing in different groups according to their age.

The main talks were presented by Msgr. László Bíró, Bishop for the family; by Bertalan Andrásfalvy, professor of ethnography; by Mr. László Surján, Hungarian Member of the European Parliament; and by Mr. János Sallai, psychologist. The Congress was spiritually hosted by Msgr. László Bíró, who summarized the main message of his talks in the following words: "Spiritual renewal means starting again from Jesus Christ. It means rediscovering our values: the institution and the sacrament of marriage, the biblical image of man and the domestic church. It is the authentic realization of these values in our lives and the overflow of this life and faith that make it possible for us to pass on faith to others. This is our mission, a responsibility for each one of us, within the family and, through the family, in society."

The heart of the meeting was the Holy Mass in the thousand year old Basilica of Pannonhalma, celebrated daily by Msgr. László Bíró in concelebration with the priests from foreign countries as well as with the Hungarian priests working with CFM/FIRES Hungary. At other times during the day, many participants joined the Benedictine monks for their prayers of the hours. The mental and spiritual enrichment of the families was completed by concerts of classical and light music, wine tasting and dancing. "We have experienced that we exist; that the Christian family is not just a dream but a reality” – concluded Bishop Bíró at the end of the meeting, where the families, the children and the young became witnesses of hope for each other indeed.

Source: Magyar Kurír

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