World Meeting of Families: Your questions answered

In a little more than 13 months, Catholic families from around the world will descend on the traditionally Catholic city of Philadelphia for the eighth annual World Meeting of Families.

This is the first such event to take place in the United States and is being highly anticipated by many of the country’s Catholics. Here’s a quick look at what we know (and what we don’t) surrounding the 2015 event.

What is the World Meeting of Families?

The eighth such event, and the first to be held in the United States, is an international gathering of prayer, catechesis and celebration that aims to strengthen families and promote the importance of family and marriage to the world. It is held once every three years.

When is it?
Sept. 22-27, 2015. Registration and housing are expected to open this fall.

Where is it?

Editor's preview of this week's issue

What’s the theme?
“Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive!”

Who are the key people?
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Family; and Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

Will Pope Francis be there?
Though the Vatican has made no official statement regarding Pope Francis’ attendance, he has often expressed his willingness and desire to come to Archbishop Chaput. The official announcement is not expected before next spring.

Who are the patron saints?
St. John Paul II, the first pope to ever visit the City of Brotherly Love, and the pope who presided over the first World Meeting of Families in 1994; and St. Gianna Beretta Molla, pediatrician and mother of four who died giving birth to her fourth child.

Where has the World Meeting of Families been held?
Other cities that have hosted the event include: Rome, 1994; Rio de Janeiro, 1997; Rome, 2000; Manila, Philippines, 2003; Valencia, Spain, 2006; Mexico City, 2009; and Milan, 2012.

What else makes it significant?
As noted by Archbishop Paglia during the meeting of bishops in June, the event will be “an important element” to the extraordinary synod on the family (October 2014) and the ordinary synod on the family (October 2015). The meeting, he said “has to be a great celebration for families from all over the world.

“We must show that it is possible, and beautiful, to create joyful and solid families ...”

How should I prepare?
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Pontifical Council for the Family have developed a preparatory catechesis called “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” Our Sunday Visitor will be publishing this catechesis, and it will be available later this month.