Official Prayer, Icon Unveiled for World Meeting of Families

Painting Includes Holy Family With Grandparents Anna and Joachim

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Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia on Sunday unveiled the official prayer and iconic image for the World Meeting of Families, which will be held next September in Philadelphia.

Inspired by the conference theme, «Love is our mission: the family fully alive,» which was announced in May 2014, the conference’s prayer and iconic image were unveiled and blessed by Archbishop Chaput during the Sunday evening Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Both the prayer and the image will be shared with the Pontifical Council of the Family at the Vatican during Archbishop Chaput’s visit to Rome during the week of September 15. 

«The prayer and iconic image will inspire everyone as we continue to prepare for the 2015 World Meeting of Families,» said Archbishop Chaput. «With their focus on enriching and reenergizing the spiritual life of families – both Catholic and non-Catholic alike, I’m hopeful that this prayer and image can help all of us to examine our minds and hearts and deepen our relationships with God and our families in meaningful ways.» 

The official prayer for the World Meeting of Families is meant to aid delegates around the world in their spiritual preparation for this momentous event. Distributed to parishes across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and also accessible via the 2015 World Meeting of Families’ web site in 18 languages including American Sign Language, the prayer is meant to serve as a vehicle of hope and faith for families. Encouraging daily recitation for the success of the event and for personal intentions, the prayer is foundational to both the conference’s theme and its planned content. 

In addition to an official prayer, the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 has produced a definitive iconic image for the event. This image is a religious work of art meant to encourage both reflection and prayer.

Artist Neilson Carlin, based in Pennsylvania, was commissioned to create an oil painting of the Holy Family depicting Mary, Joseph and Jesus, as a small child, as well as Mary’s parents, Saints Anna and Joachim. The four-by-five foot canvas, which was also unveiled on Sunday with the assistance of students from John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, Roman Catholic High School, Saint Peter the Apostle School, and Saint Francis Xavier School, will be on display in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul through the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families.

Those coming to the view the iconic image at the Cathedral are encouraged to pray for families around the world by reciting the official prayer and lighting a votive candle at the Marian Shrine. 

Carlin, who specializes in large-scale commission work for the Catholic Church, said, «I am both honored and humbled by the opportunity to use my talents to serve the Church, my fellow Catholics and this global event, which hopefully will welcome Pope Francis. Inspired by the theme of ‘Love is our mission,’ it is my sincerest hope that this image will be a source of prayer and contemplation that draws people of all faiths in and ultimately makes them feel closer and more connected to their own families.» 

For more information about the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, its official prayer or the iconic image for this international event, please visit

The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 Official Prayer

God and Father of us all, 
in Jesus, your Son and our Savior, 
you have made us 
your sons and daughters 
in the family of the Church. 

May your grace and love 
help our families 
in every part of the world 
be united to one another 
in fidelity to the Gospel. 

May the example of the Holy Family, 
with the aid of your Holy Spirit, 
guide all families, especially those most troubled, 
to be homes of communion and prayer 
and to always seek your truth and live in your love. 
through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

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