20,000 people from around the world are gathered in Philadelphia to talk about the family
The VIII World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia on the theme "Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive," began on Tuesday, September 22nd.
With the opening ceremony, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the presence of the President of the Pontifical Council H.E. Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and the city's Mayor, Mr. Michael Nutter, the "city of brotherly love" welcomed the twenty thousand people from over one hundred countries around the world, who have come for the Congress and for Pope Francis' visit, thus making this the biggest World Meeting since 1994.
More than ten thousand volunteers and nearly two thousand conventioneers will discuss the family together and speak to the world’s families in the course of the next few days. They are, in fact, the real protagonists of this meeting, who have gathered to share with one another and bear witness to the beauty of their being lively families. As Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, pointed out, "if the family is fully alive, then society will be fully alive. And if the family is strong, society itself will be strong." He also emphasized how the family should become, within the world, "a true home for all. Every family has the duty to dream of a better world for all, especially for the most vulnerable: children, the sick, the elderly, and all those who are in need." Now, during this World Meeting, the Diocese of Philadelphia has decided to open its doors to a family from every Diocese in Mexico and Canada, thus giving them the chance to participate in the Meeting.
Archbishop Paglia's discourse at the opening ceremony: