In September 2015, Philadelphia will have the honor of hosting the 8th World Meeting of Families, an international event organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family. Here’s a brief Q&A about the 8th World Meeting of Families, along with some helpful links.
What is the World Meeting of Families?
The World Meeting of Families is an international event of prayer, catechesis, and celebration that draws participants from around the globe. It seeks to strengthen the bonds between families and to witness to the crucial importance of marriage and family to all of society.
What is the Pontifical Council for the Family?
The Pontifical Council for the Family is part of the Roman Curia. It was instituted by Bl. John Paul II in 1981, replacing the Committee for the Family which was created by Pope Paul VI in 1973. As explained on its profile page, the Pontifical Council for the Family “is responsible for the promotion of the pastoral ministry and apostolate to the family, through the application of the teachings and guidelines of the ecclesiastical Magisterium, to help Christian families fulfill their educational and apostolic mission.” The Pontifical Council for the Family has its own regularly updated website. (It is in Italian but can be accessed in English by clicking “Eng” in the upper toolbar.)
When and where is the 8th World Meeting of Families?
The 8th World Meeting of Families will be held September 22-27, 2015, in Philadelphia. This decision was announced by Pope Benedict at the 7th World Meeting of Families in Milan in 2012, and confirmed by the Vatican on February 25.
Where have the other World Meetings of Families been held?
Previous World Meetings of Families have been held in Rome (1994 & 2000); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Manila (2003); Valencia, Spain (2006); Mexico City (2009); and Milan, Italy (2012). The 8th World Meeting of Families will be the first time this event has been held in the United States.
Will the pope attend the 8th World Meeting of Families?
No one knows for sure, since Pope Benedict’s successor has not yet been elected, but it is certainly possible that the new Holy Father will attend the 8th World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. If so, it could also be the new pope’s first visit to the United States.
How many people attend the World Meeting of Families?
Attendance varies depending on the location. Most recently, hundreds of thousands of people attended the 7th World Meeting of Families in Milan, and one million attended Pope Benedict’s mass at that Meeting.
Does each World Meeting of Families have a theme?
Yes. For example, the theme of the 2012 World Meeting of Families in Milan was “The Family: Work and Celebration.” The theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families will be chosen by the new pope after he is elected.
What has Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, said about hosting the 8th World Meeting of Families?
In a letter published on February 25, Archbishop Chaput said, “I believe that this event has the power to transform, in deeply positive ways, not just the Catholic Church, but our entire community. We look forward to welcoming you and your family to Philadelphia for this important event in September 2015.”
How do I sign up to attend the 8th World Meeting of Families?
No specific registration procedures have yet been announced, but you can sign up for notifications on the 8th World Meeting of Families website (bottom right corner).