VATICAN CITY — The Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput presented the World Meeting of Families on the theme “Love is our mission: the family fully alive.”
Philadelphia is hosting the Sept. 22-27, 2015 meeting and Archbishop Chaput commented on the city’s deep religious roots. Organizers expect between 10,000 and 15,000 people to attend the meeting and the archbishop expressed his hope that Pope Francis may be present.
Archbishop Chaput also noted that the meeting’s theme was based on St. Irenaeus’ famous words, “The Glory of God is man fully alive.”
“In like manner, the glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves,” he said. “Life in a family is a summons to embody that love in everyday life.”
The event in Philadelphia will be accompanied by an official document, a catechesis that “will help parish and diocesan leaders, catechists and other interested persons prepare Catholics across the globe for next year’s meeting,” he said.
The official document will develop Church teaching through key areas:
—The purpose of creation.
—The nature of sexuality.
—The covenant of marriage.
—The importance of children.
—The place of priesthood and religious life in the ecology of the Christian community.
—The Christian home as a refuge for the wounded heart.
—The role of the Church.
—The missionary witness of Christian families to the wider world.
“The text gives us a foundation for all of the different programming that will go into the World Meeting of Families,” continued Archbishop Chaput, “from major talks, to panels and breakout sessions, to family entertainment throughout the event.”
In addition, a specially-commissioned oil painting will be displayed in Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul throughout the World Meeting. The work by artist Neilson Carlin represents the Holy Family — Jesus, Mary and Joseph — along with Mary’s parents, Saints Anne and Joachim.
“They are a reminder that, today and throughout history, the Christian family includes both the young and the elderly,” Archbishop Chaput said. “It reaches beyond parents and child to include grandparents and many other extended relations.”
Archbishop Paglia reported that every day until the opening of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 5, www.familia.va will feature a special edition of “Jarà — the spectacle of life.” These editions will present the main themes of the synod on marriage and explain how they figure in the Instrumentum Laboris.
During the assembly there will be a weekly note presenting and summarizing the work of the synod fathers. All this will be supplemented with exclusive interviews with bishops and experts.
In an interview with Cruxnow.com, a Boston Globe effort to cover Catholic news, Archbishop Paglia said the synod will debate allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. But the synod, he said, is more likely to focus on improving marriage preparation and the annulment process, not changing doctrine.
“Problems will be addressed, but any change in doctrinal teachings would be hard, considering the diversity and complexity of these issues,” he said in the interview. “I do believe bishops will find real pastoral alternatives, profound human problems deserve profound solutions.”
—Vatican Information Service