Vatican City, 16 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishops Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, U.S.A., presented the World Meeting of Families on the theme “Love is our mission: the family fully alive”, which will take place in the North American city from 22 to 27 September 2015.
In his presentation Archbishop Chaput commented on Philadelphia's deep religious roots and expressed his hope that Pope Francis may be present at next year's meeting, at which between ten and fifteen thousand people from all over the world are expected to attend. He also explained that the theme of the Meeting was based on St. Irenaeus' famous words, “the Glory of God is man fully alive”. “In like manner, the glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves. Life in a family is a summons to embody that love in everyday life”.
The event in Philadelphia will be accompanied by an official document, a catechesis that “will help parish and diocesan leaders, catechists and other interested persons prepare Catholics across the globe for next year's meeting. … It develops its teaching in ten simple steps. It starts with the purpose of our creation and moves into the nature of our sexuality; the covenant of marriage; the importance of children; the place of priesthood and religious life in the ecology of the Christian community; the Christian home as a refuge for the wounded heart; the role of the Church; and the missionary witness of Christian families to the wider world”.
“The text gives us a foundation for all of the different programming that will go into the World Meeting of Families”, continued Archbishop Chaput, “from major talks, to panels and breakout sessions, to family entertainment throughout the event. The text is currently available in English and Spanish. Portuguese, French and other language editions are planned this fall through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The catechesis also includes the special prayer we commissioned to prepare for the 2015 gathering”.
In addition, a specially-commissioned oil painting will be displayed in Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul throughout the World Meeting. By the artist Neil Carlin, it represents the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph – along with Mary's parents, Sts. Anne and Joachim. “They are a reminder that, today and throughout history, the Christian family includes both the young and the elderly; it reaches beyond parents and child to include grandparents and many other extended relations”.
Archbishop Paglia presented the events that will be organised by his dicastery this year and the next, in relation to the theme of the family. On 18 September, with the collaboration of Caritas International, a seminar will be held on “Family and poverty”, in which it 150 experts on the theme are expected to participate. On 28 September, with the theme “The blessing of longevity”, the elderly and grandparents will meet with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square. From 22 to 24 January 2015, an international congress of associations, movements and groups for the family and for life will meet with the aim of “Reviewing together the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, and on 24 March, anniversary of the publication of St. John Paul II's encyclical “Evangelium vitae”, a prayer vigil will be held in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major.
Finally, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family reported that every day until the opening of the Synod (5 October) on the site www.familia.va, there will be a special edition of “Jarà – the spectacle of life”, which will present through words and images the main themes of the Synod and explain how they figure in the Instrumentum Laboris. During the assembly there will be a weekly note presenting and summarising the work of the Synod fathers. All this will be supplemented with exclusive interviews with bishops and experts.