World Meeting of Families

Q. What is the World Meeting of Families that will be held in Philadelphia in 2015 all about? How is the Church involved?

A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:

The World Meeting of Families was begun by Pope John Paul II in 1992. Its purpose is the global strengthening of family life. The gathering, sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, takes place every three years, and each meeting has a theme. The 2015 meeting in Philadelphia will explore “The Gospel of the Family, Resource of Humanity.”

The mission of the Pontifical Council for the Family is to help Christian families embrace their vocation as the “domestic church,” and the cornerstone of human society, “a community of faith, hope, and charity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2204). This fulfills what the Catechism terms, “a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” with what the text calls “an evangelizing and missionary task” (No. 2205). Next year’s meeting will focus on the Gospel value of the family and its contribution to the good of humankind.

The council is no small undertaking. It includes 15 cardinals, 12 archbishops and bishops, and 19 married couples from around the world. The World Meeting of Families is highly regarded: at the 2012 event, in Milan, 153 nations were represented, and a million faithful attended Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.