Text of a letter received in all parishes from Archbishop Charles Chaput:
February 25, 2013
I write to you today with exciting news.
The Vatican has confirmed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as the host of the Eighth World Meeting of Families, which will be held September 22-27, 2015. As you may know, the City of Philadelphia will be the first American host for the World Meeting of Families—an event that traditionally draws many thousands of visitors from around the world.
Since it’s inception by Blessed John Paul II in 1994, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the sacred 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 highlights 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.
I am also pleased to share that Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania and Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia have graciously accepted my invitation to serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the 2015 World Meeting of Families. Their support for this gathering demonstrates how important this week-long event is not only to the City of Philadelphia but to the entire Commonwealth.
I believe that this event has the power to transform, in deeply positive ways, not just the Catholic Church, but our entire community. In the coming days and weeks, there will be further outreach to you as we begin to plan the World Meeting of Families and prepare for Philadelphia to be on the world stage in September 2015. We hope we can count on your help to ensure that this is a success.
To learn more about the Eighth World Meeting of Families and to keep abreast of our plans, I encourage you to visit www.WorldMeeting2015.org.
Yours in friendship and gratitude,
Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap
Archbishop of Philadelphia
What is the World Meeting of Families?
By now most have heard the news that at midday, 3 June 2012, after having celebrated Mass in the presence of almost one million faithful in Milan and before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father announced that the eighth World Meeting of Families will be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A. in the year 2015. “I send my warm greetings to Archbishop Charles Chaput”, he said, “and to the Catholics of that great city, and look forward to meeting them there along with numerous families from all around the world” (from the Vatican News Service, 6/3/12).
This will be only the second time in Philadelphia’s history that the Pope visits the Archdiocese. The first was the memorable stop in 1979 when Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass over a specially constructed altar in Logan Circle at which over a million people were present. Now Pope Benedict is proposing a return for the World Meeting of Families.
The first World Meeting of Families was held in Rome and other countries in 1994, the “Year of the Family” jointly declared by Pope John Paul II and the United Nations. Subsequent meetings took place in Rio de Janeiro (1997), Rome (2000), Manila (2003), Valencia (2006), Mexico City (2009), and Milan (2012). The meetings in Philadelphia will be the 8th time groups meet to discuss the important place of the family in society. Each meeting has a theme (e.g., the 2009 theme was The family, teacher of human and Christian values). It will be attended by cardinals, bishops and delegations of families from all continents. The Holy Father or his designated pontifical legate also attends.
Traditionally at these world meetings, the main celebrations will be preceded by a theological-pastoral congress which is connected to the theme. Public celebrations – which draw many thousands of people – are presided over by the Pope or his legate.
The Church is making great efforts of evangelization, supporting Christian families in their values and encouraging a wide-ranging strategy to promote and defend life from conception to natural death. The Meeting of Families is one initiative that supports and defends traditional family life.