Keeler urges focus on family values

July 14, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

For the 6,000 Catholics attending Youth and Family Encounter 2002 at the Baltimore Convention Center this weekend, the emphasis was on family, and was never more apparent than at a Mass celebrated yesterday morning by Cardinal William H. Keeler.

Hundreds wore the event's signature yellow T-shirt with "Family" encircled on the back. Couples prayed with their children and grandchildren.

Most of those in attendance were members of an international conservative movement known as Legion of Christ and a branch of the organization known as Regnum Christi.

"The cardinal called on us to reignite the fire in our own families," said Paul Godin, who came from western Canada with his wife and 7-week-old son. "His message on fathers as the pillars of the family really spoke to me."

"As you come together as families, give thanks," Keeler told the worshippers.

Keeler did not mention the Legion of Christ's founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, a Mexican priest who was accused decades ago of sexually abusing seminarians. Nor did he discuss appeals from two groups representing victims of clergy sex abuse that he not appear at the event.

Keeler also urged the crowd to combat pornography. He asked parents to strictly monitor television programs and movies.

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