Rome, 9 June 2022

The Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) celebrates this year its 25th anniversary. Delegates of Family Associations from all over Europe will gather in Rome tomorrow and meet with Pope Francis. The President of FAFCE, Vincenzo Bassi, commented: “We look forward to meeting Pope Francis again, tomorrow. We are going to meet with him to receive inspiration and encouragement, but also to have the possibility to thank him in person, for putting the family at the centre of his petrine ministry. Putting the family at the centre means focusing on the human person, far from ideology and extremisms, but close to the reality and the concrete needs of our peoples“.

Already in 2017, the Holy Father met the Federation for its 20th Anniversary (picture above), and praised the work of family associations that “should help remind everyone that there is no better ally for the integral progress of society than to favour the presence of families in the social fabric”.
Tomorrow, FAFCE will also organise a conference on “Celebrating the beauty of the family”, as a European foretaste of and in contribution to the X World Meeting of Families, that will take place on 23-27 June 2022.
This conference will embody what FAFCE’s mission is about: a bridge among communities, between families and the Church, and between families and Europe. It will bring together high-level representatives of different institutions and organisations, with the participation of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, the Council of the European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), the Delegation of the European Union to the Holy See, representatives of the European Union institutions, Ambassadors, academics, and delegates of the European and national civil society.
The event will see the contribution of Marian Jurečka, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and Vice-Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, just before the start of the Czech Presidency of the European Union, next month.
Bishop Mariano Crociata, First Vice-president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), the Brussels-based structure representing Catholic Bishops in the EU, will deliver a reflection on The voice of the Church in Europe, the voice of its families.
An exchange of views will follow, moderated by Andrea Gagliarducci, author and journalist.
Archbishop Gintaras Grušas, President of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE), with which FAFCE concluded a memorandum of understanding last year, will describe the contribution of local churches in Europe to celebrate the X World Meeting of Families.
Gianluigi De Palo, President of the Forum of Family Associations, Italian Member organisation of FAFCE, will intervene on the role of family associations, with a special focus on the demographic challenges that Europe faces today.
Bénédicte Colin, FAFCE Policy Manager, and Moderator of the roundtable discussion during the conference, underlined already that “the message that we would like to send with this conference is very clear: the family is not something from the past, but the future. Even in today’s Europe: the family is the future of Europe”. 
The round table will indeed look at the contribution of the family to the common good from different perspectives, with Joseph Thouvenel, Confederal Secretary of the French Confederation of Christian Workers, Oksana Furman, Medical Doctor, delegate of the Ukrainian Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Philip Booth, Director of Catholic Mission, St. Mary’s University, and Director of Policy and Research of the  Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and with Toma Sutic, Member of the Cabinet of the Vice-President of the European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, in charge of Democracy and Demography.
Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, will give the final remarks, with a final look on the upcoming World Meeting of Families.