.- Pope Benedict XVI announced this morning at the closing Mass of the seventh World Meeting of Families that the next gathering will be held in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
"I send my warm greetings to Archbishop Charles Chaput and to the Catholics of that great city," he said as he delivered the news that the 2015 World Meeting of Families will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Pope Benedict, who delivered the news in a short speech after Communion, said he is looking forward to meeting "them there along with numerous families from all around the world."
Reacting to the news, Archbishop Chaput said he is "so grateful to the Holy Father that he has chosen Philadelphia and excited that we will host the 2015 World Meeting of Families.
"It's fitting that this gathering, which celebrates the cornerstone of society, will take place in America's cradle of freedom. The Holy Father's choice is a gift to the local Church in Philadelphia and to the whole nation," he said.
The international gathering takes place every three years and brings together hundreds of thousands of people to pray, celebrate, and study marriage and family life. This year, pilgrims from 150 countries have come to Milan.
The 2012 event was held in Milan, Italy and featured a Family Fair for those who work in family ministry, a Theological and Pastoral Congress, and a series of speeches delivered by Pope Benedict to families, priests and religious, and to civil authorities.
This edition of the meeting also featured Pope Benedict meeting with all of those children who have received or will receive Confirmation in the Milan archdiocese. The youth met with the Pope in San Siro soccer stadium, in keeping with a tradition that is usually attended only by the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola.
The culmination of the gathering was the Sunday, June 3 High Mass at Milan’s Bresso Park, which was attended by almost 1 million faithful.
The theme of this year’s event was “The Family: Work and Celebration.” The Pope has focused his message on how the family is “humanity’s principal patrimony,” and through Christ, it helps ensure a “true and stable culture in favor of man.”
Last updated on June 3, 2012 at 10:08 a.m. MST. Adds reaction from Archbishop Chaput in paragraphs 4 and 5.