The family has always been central for Christians. The Catechism describes it as the “the original cell of social life,” Catholics pay great homage to the Holy Family, and recent popes have taken up the topic, from Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae to John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
But among Catholic leaders, the family is receiving more attention today than perhaps at any time in the last century. The boost started during last year’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. Discussions about marriage and the many challenges families face today pervaded the Church. The discussion continues this year as we move toward the Ordinary Synod on the Family, scheduled for October 2015.
However, in between the two Synods awaits the World Meeting of Families, which will take place September 21-25, 2015 in Philadelphia. Held every three years and sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, the World Meeting of Families is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families.
Each World Meeting of Families has a theme, and this year it is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” emphasizing the impact of the love and life of families on our society. The event always generates great excitement but will garner special enthusiasm this year thanks to Pope Francis, who will be attending the event during his first visit to the United States.
Today, I have the great pleasure of interviewing Archbishop Charles Chaput, archbishop of Philadelphia and official host of the World Meeting of Families. We discuss the upcoming event, the greatest challenges families face today, and how the Pope’s presence will uplift Catholics throughout America.
BRANDON VOGT: Let’s start off with a simple question. What is the World Meeting of Families? Where did it originate and why is it important?
ARCHBISHOP CHARLES CHAPUT: St. John Paul II founded the World Meeting of Families in 1994, building on the success of World Youth Day in Denver and other cities globally. It takes place every three years in a different nation.
The purpose is simple but vital: to help people deepen their Christian understanding and experience of family life. If the family is the foundation of society, and of course it is, then strengthening family life is the surest guarantee of a healthy culture.
BRANDON: The theme of the 2015 “World Meeting of Families,” in Philadelphia, is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” What does that mean?
ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: The theme borrows from those great words of St. Irenaeus: “The glory of God is man fully alive.” Men and women are most fully alive when they love as God loves, deeply and unselfishly, and for most people the path to that kind of love is through marriage and family.
Welcome to the Blog! I am a Catholic Priest and was ordained to the priesthood on August 26, 2000. I hope this site is a place of interest for you where you will find ideas and information on the Catholic faith and the Church.