Edmund Adamus, former Director for Marriage and Family Life, travelled to Philadelphia in September 2015 for the World Meeting of Families. He reports on the experience.
Since its inception by St John Paul II in 1994, the World Meeting has strengthened the bonds of families across the globe. In this time of renewed mission for the Church, families founded upon marriage need to be at its heart and deserve maximum pastoral attention.
Sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the meeting is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families. The theme was ‘Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.’ A beautiful catechesis in preparation for the congress was published, emphasising the impact of the love and life of families on our society.
The four-day congress was attended by over 20,000 people hungry to hear many outstanding talks and workshops on offer from cardinals, bishops, and theologians, as well as inspiring married couple presenters and communicators.
The EXPO accompanying the event housed exhibitors displaying examples of dynamic pastoral creativity and resources aimed at building up spouses as the primary agents of evangelisation.
On the day the Pope addressed the US bishops in Philadelphia, it was heartening to hear him say: ‘without the family, there is no Church’. The celebration concluded with the announcement that Dublin had been selected to host the next World Meeting in 2018.
The theme chosen by Pope Francis for WMOF2018 is, The Gospel of the Family, 'Joy for the World'.