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LOW DESERT—Catholic families gathered from June 22-24 at three different parishes in the Low Desert Vicariate of the Diocese to celebrate the World Meeting of Families held in Rome. The World Meeting of Families takes place every three years and is a time for the Pope to meet with families from around the world to pray with them and have them share their stories.

“The World Meeting of Families at the Diocese aims to provide an opportunity for families to participate in this global event specifically planned to celebrate the gift of family life and family love,” said Mario Martinez, who is the Co-Director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life, along with his wife, Paola.

This was the third time that the Diocese celebrated the World Meeting of Families, having previously held events in 2015 and 2018. This year was the 10th World Meeting of Families around the theme of “Family Love, Vocation and Path to Holiness.”

The first diocesan event this year was an Opening Mass on June 22 at Sacred Heart, Palm Desert. “We are very excited to have this event today, coming together with the whole world; we’re becoming part of the World Meeting of Families that started today in Rome,” said Bishop Alberto Rojas, who celebrated the Mass. The families prayed the Rosary before the Mass and enjoyed an ice cream social after.

The next day, June 23, there was Mass and family catechesis at Our Lady of Solitude, Coachella. The three-day event concluded on June 24 at St. Theresa, Palm Springs, with a Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration and family catechesis.

“Each day the event took place in a different parish to have a sense of a pilgrimage, giving the people in our communities the opportunity to experience this world event,” said Martinez.

The event only took place in the Low Desert Vicariate due to the pandemic, although families from all over the Diocese attended, and some parishes individually provided family catechesis related to this year’s theme, according to Martinez.

Martinez said that the World Meeting of Families is a time to emphasize the importance of the family to entrust all families to God through prayer.

“Pope Francis summarized it best when he said during his homily at the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families that ‘the family is the first place where you learn to love’ ... through the World Meeting of Families, the Church affirms family life as a vocation that can lead us to holiness and reminds parents that they are the main educators in the faith for their children,” said Martinez.