Rome (Fides Service) – On June 14 Pope John Paul II will meet boys and girls, members of Missionary Childhood society, on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the society’s founding (1843-2003). At least 7,000 children accompanied by parents, catechists, and animators from all over Italy will be in Rome to meet the Pope and renew their promise to be missionaries to their peers.
Addressing participants at the annual general assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies on 16 May, the Holy Father said: “ On this happy occasion, I cannot forget the 160th anniversary of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood or Missionary Childhood, which is being celebrated this year. I would like to recall and underline the important work of spreading missionary information and awareness that this Society has carried out "from its infancy", to promote the missionary cause. The Message I addressed to the members of the Society on the Solemnity of the Epiphany expresses my full appreciation of these "missionary children". It will therefore be a joy for me to receive in the near future a large and lively delegation of children from all over the world who will be coming to Rome to celebrate the important anniversary of your praiseworthy Society”.
Here is the programme of the Day of festivity and prayer on June 14 which focuses on the theme “Here I am, send me! (Isaiah 6,8): 9am welcome in St Peter’s Square; 10 Mass celebration by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; 11.30 Holy Father comes to the Square to meet the children; 1pm picnic lunch; 3.30 missionary rosary led by the children;4.30 departure (SL) (Fides Service 13/6/2003 EM lines 20 Words: 258)