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Thousands of couples expected to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Pope Francis


(Vatican Radio) Thousands of young couples are expected to join Pope Francis in the Vatican on Valentine’s Day Friday, February 14th to celebrate “The Joy of ‘Yes’ forever.” So many young people will descend on the Vatican that the Pontifical Council for the Family organizing the audience has announced that it will no longer be held in the Paul VI Hall as previously planned, but in St. Peter’s Square.
Listen to Tracey McClure's report: RealAudioMP3

In a note, the Pontifical Council for the Family states that there are already more than 17,000 young people signed up for the audience with the Pope. Organizers say the numbers of engaged couples who will actually attend the audience is “unpredictable,” and that Pope Francis has welcomed the idea to hold the event in the Square so that many more young couples can be accommodated.

The meeting was greeted with enthusiasm by engaged couples who are preparing for marriage in Italy and in dioceses around the world. Young people are enrolling for the audience through the offices for the family of their dioceses, the secretariats of ecclesial movements and lay associations. To register, couples can send a request to: events@family.va . In fact, given the capacity of the square, the deadline for registration, which is mandatory for all participants, has been extended to February 12th .

St. Peter's Square will be open from 9:00 am. At 11:00 am, there will be a period of reflection, prayer and testimonials in preparation for the arrival of the Holy Father, scheduled for 12.00 noon. The meeting will end at approximately 12:45. The initiative, promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Family, was announced on December 20th by the Council president Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia. It is one of the many initiatives in preparation for the third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops convened by Pope Francis for this October. The theme of the Synod will be " pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization."