Since it began in 1994, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe. This event takes place every three years and is sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family.

The Pontifical Council for the Family:

The Pontifical Council for the Family, founded by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1981, is responsible for the promotion of the Church’s pastoral ministry to the family, with the goal of helping Christian families fulfill their apostolic mission as the “domestic church” and fundamental building bloc of society. This Council promotes the pastoral care of families and fosters their rights and dignity in the Church as well as civil society in order that they may fulfill their vocation for the well-being of one another and the world around them.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Bishop Jean Laffitte and Msgr. Carlos Simón Vázquez are respectively president, secretary and under-secretary of this council. The council includes a staff of 10 officials and consists of 15 cardinals, 12 archbishops and bishops, as well as 19 married couples from all over the world and 39 consultors.

Beginning with the 1994 Year of the Family, the council has been responsible for organizing the World Meeting of Families in: Rome (1994); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015).

Highlights of the 2012 World Meeting of Families:

* 1,000,000 participants at Mass with Pope Benedict XVI in Bresso, Italy on June 3, 2012 

* 350,000 participants at the Feast of Testimonies on June 2, 2012 

* 200,000 people welcoming the Holy Father to Milan

* 5,300 volunteers for the World Meeting of Families (May 30 to June 3, 2012) 

* 153 nations represented in Milan, Italy for the Seventh World Meeting of Families