The Vatican announced Monday that the 8th World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia, will run Sept. 22-27, 2015.
Selected as the host city by the Holy Father in coordination with the Pontifical Council for the Family, this marks the first time the United States will welcome this event, which was last hosted by Milan, Italy, in June 2012.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said the event is a “gift not just to Catholics in Philadelphia, but to every person of good will in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the surrounding region and our nation.”
“A gathering like the World Meeting of Families demands a great deal of planning, but it is an opportunity filled with grace,” the archbishop added. “This event has the power to transform, in deeply positive ways, not just the spirit of Catholic life in our area, but our entire community.”
Since its inception by Blessed John Paul II in 1994, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the bonds of family across the globe. Each World Meeting of Families has a theme, which aims to emphasize the good news of the family and highlight its intrinsic value to the good of society. The theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families will be forthcoming, following the election of a new Pontiff.
Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania and Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia will serve as honorary co-chairs of the 2015 World Meeting of Families.
Both the governor and mayor released statements about the importance of family and their eagerness to welcome international visitors to the city.
The World Meeting of Families draws a global audience. In Milan for the 7th World Meeting, 153 nations were represented, 350,000 attended the Feast of Testimonies and more than one million participated in the Mass celebrated by the Holy Father. Beginning in 1994, during The Year of the Family, the Pontifical Council has been responsible for organizing the World Meetings of Families. They’ve been held in Rome (1994); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015).