World Meeting of Families logoParishioners throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are learning about the World Meeting of Families and, more important, the value of the family to society.

About 40 parishes so far have hosted an information session about the event, to be held Sept. 22-25 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, and more sessions will be hosted throughout the spring and summer. The talks are given by trained World Meeting of Families presenters who hail from local parishes as well as from local institutions such as Villanova University, University of Pennsylvania, Immaculata University, Neumann University, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and the Theology of the Body Institute.

Other parishes are studying in some way the World Meeting of Families’ preparatory catechesis, “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”


About 20 parishes are preparing to offer the Discovering Christ faith formation course after the families’ congress and the visit of Pope Francis Sept. 26-27. The courses will invite people who have experienced the events to come to the parish and ask questions and consider starting a journey to the Catholic Church. For fallen-away Catholics it will represent a journey back to the church. For those who are unfamiliar with Christianity or religion in general, the course may be a first step toward God.

Some of the World Meeting of Families preparation activities in parishes are listed below. See the complete list of parish preparation events at the web site of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for New Evangelization.

St. Barbara, Philadelphia – social media campaign inviting parishioners to snap photos of places Pope Francis should visit in Philadelphia and posting on their Facebook page.

Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, North Wales – traveling iconic images in family homes throughout the parish.

St. John the Baptist, Ottsville – monthly overnight prayer vigil for healing of the family with a morning Mass for healing of the family.

St. Martin of Tours, Philadelphia – weekly family event in Spanish named after St. John Paul II, who is a co-patron of the World Meeting of Families along with St. Gianna.

San Rocco, Avondale and St. Martin of Tours, Philadelphia – concerts for the family performed in Spanish on April 14 and 15.

Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia – outdoor Marian procession under the title “Mary, the Mother of Families” on May 3.

St. Norbert, Paoli – regular prayer and support meetings for families and loved ones struggling with addictions.

St. Maria Goretti, Hatfield – displaying relics of St. Gianna Beretta Molla on the weekend of May 16-17.

St. Pius X, Broomall – in addition to monthly study of the World Meeting of Families preparatory catechesis, the parish offers a healing program for people who have been through divorce.

Simon and Jude, West Chester, St. Patrick, Kennett Square and St. Ann, Phoenixville – hosted a series of talks on St. John Paul II’s theology of the body, related to themes of human sexuality, marriage and the family given by speakers from the Theology of the Body Institute.

St. Stanislaus, Lansdale – Family-themed series of talks including “Keeping God in Family Life” presented by Father Michael Mullen, parochial vicar, on April 14, plus monthly study of the preparatory catechesis.

St. Elizabeth, Upper Uwchlan – hosted a March 25 talk by Kevin Reilley, former Philadelphia Eagle and current sportscaster, on the topic “Faith, Family, Friends and Fortitude.”

Immaculate Conception, Jenkintown – hosted a film screening and presentation by Dr. Monique Ruberu, OB/GYN and NaPro Technology physician, on the authentic Catholic approach to fertility on March 25 to correspond to the World Meeting of Families’ theme for the month of March, “Creating the Future.”

Our Lady of Charity, Brookhaven – in addition to weekly Lenten study of the World Meeting of Families preparatory catechesis, the parish will offer a special outreach to PREP families called Catholics Reaching Out, starting April 7. It helps parents deepen their faith and fulfill their role as the primary educators of their children in the faith.