The meeting will take place in Philadelphia from September 22nd to September 27th. The theme of meeting this year is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive”. Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia reminds us that the theme was inspired by Saint Irenaeus who wrote “the Glory of God is man fully alive.” The Archbishop states “the glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves – and no better means exists to teach the meaning of love than the family. His Holiness, Pope Francis also inspired the theme. He embodies the message of mercy, joy and love at the heart of the Gospel.” Pope Francis in a homily spoke of the Christian family as an institution that prays, keeps faith, and experiences joy. He prayed that we “reawaken in our society the awareness of the sacred and inviable character of the family, an inestimable good.”
The organizers also remind us that at the conference “families share their thoughts, dialogue and prayers, working together to grow as individuals and family units. Families can participate in discussion groups on the Christian family’s role in the church and society, led by many distinguished speakers.” Scheduled speakers include renowned scripture scholar Scott Hahn, leader Catholic educator Bishop-Elect Robert Barron, and Catholic lawyer and professor, Helen Alvare.
The meeting is one of the many conferences that will serve as a forum to evaluate issues to be discussed at the Synod of bishops on the family. The Synod will take place at the Vatican in October. Vatican spokesman Fr. Frederico Lombardi stated, “It is important that the Church move forward together as a community, in reflection and prayer, and decide on common pastoral orientations dealing with the most important aspects of life together – particularly on the family – under the guidance of the Pope and the bishops.” He further noted that the convening of the Synod is a clear indication of this direction.
We pray that the World Meeting of Families, and the Synod, will bear much fruit and serve to strengthen The Catholic Church and the family unit.