FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “ PHOTOCALL 12pm Saturday 21st George Square
Cardinal welcomes Europe4Family bikers to Scotland
A huge pan European youth bike ride hits Glasgow today, bringing the message Family Matters to the attention of politicians and public. The ˜Islands leg of the tour, which was launched in Dublin by ex Taoiseach John Bruton and representatives of the Dublin City Council on Monday, has made its way through Northern Ireland, meeting with Belfast s Mayor and many local people. The young cyclists from Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany and Africa, will stop in Glasgow s George Square for an event at midday this Saturday before travelling to London s Covent Garden for September 4th. The European routes of the project will converge in Brussels for final celebrations in September including a special seminar day discussing family issues at the European Parliament.
The Europe4Family bike-ride has been organised by members of the European branch of the World Youth Alliance (WYA), a global youth coalition which was recently granted ECOSOC status by the UN. As a worldwide NGO of more than 1.5 million members, the WYA have devised the most extensive contribution to the 10th Anniversary of the UN Year of the Family from their European Office in Brussels. At 8747 km in length, the bike ride may qualify for entry into the Guinness Book of Records. The discussions taking place on the routes are likely to focus on new ideas for a family-friendly Europe in response to a rapidly ageing society.
We want to encourage people to commit, to reflect on the great value of family for the individual and for society “ we hope our peers take courage and prepare well to found their own families , says cyclist Peter Cox, 22, from Edinburgh, who is helping coordinate the ˜Islands Route . Europe needs family-friendly policies which genuinely value children and honour parents responsibilities. Investing in families is the most effective way of tackling many social problems such as low birthrates and high divorce rates all over Europe “ family teaches us self-gift, identity and dignity.
In a message to be read out to the group in George Square by John Deighan the catholic Church's Parliamentary Officer, Cardinal keith o"Brien will welcome the cyclists and endorse their campaign.
(The full text of Cardinal O'Brien's message is shown below)
The star shaped bike ride, which is supported by politicians like Tony Blair, the EU Commissioners Viviane Reding and Jan Figel, and Germany s Minister for Family Affairs Renate Schmidt, includes 50 events in towns and cities on the European routes. A common charter will be handed to politicians on the route and on September 10th it will be brought to the European Parliament, which has taken patronage of the project. Latvia s president Vaira Vike-Freiberga acknowledged the project as most important for Europe s future: Family represents the most important cornerstone of human societies. It is through the family that individuals acquire the foundation of their ethical values and social skills."
Timing of events
11.45 Cyclists arrive
12.00 Speeches, followed by signing of the 'Family Matters' banner, which
is being carried to Brussels.
For questions contact:Emilia Klepacka 0032 2732 7605
Local contact: Countess Leila D Ansembourg on 07960 968555 or Dominic Jones 07956 431099
Fact sheet: http://220.127.116.11/europe4family/update/E4F_Fact_Sheet_en.pdf
MESSAGE OF SUPPORT FROM CARDINAL O'BRIEN
"I welcome the "Europe4Family" bike ride to Scotland and wish you well as you continue your journey through Europe.
The aims of this project, are 'to raise awareness of the significance
of the family for the individual and society, influence public decisions
at the national and international level, celebrate life through various
cultural events, and strengthen the cooperation among European youth
groups.' These are noble aims which I am happy to endorse without hesitation.
I have for some time promoted the themes of marriage and family life with the support of my brother bishops here in Scotland. I believe that it is in the best interests of Scottish (and European) society, and is therefore a duty incumbent on all who are active in public life, to respect and foster family life. Furthermore I believe that all legislative and fiscal policy must take account of the effect that it will have on this core institution of our society and ensure that it is strengthened and not undermined.
In a statement from Scotland's bishops to the Catholic community earlier this year, we stated, that:
'Marriage is a unique institution, a gift from God to his creation. It has been respected, honoured and supported by most civilisations at most times in human history. The three great monotheistic religions ? Judaism, Christianity and Islam - honour marriage between a man and a woman as the foundation of the family and the building block of society.'
The family has traditionally been regarded as the building block of every
society “ may it long continue to be the foundation on which Scottish
(and European) society rests.
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