Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia announced Sunday that St. John Paul II and St. Gianna Beretta Molla will be patron saints of the 2015 World Meeting of Families, being held in his cathedral city.
“Saint John Paul II and Saint Gianna have been chosen as the two worthy Patron Saints to guide all in preparation and participation of this international event as they fully embody the history, mission and theme of the World Meeting of Families 2015,” Archbishop Chaput stated July 20 during Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
“Saints John Paul II and Gianna had a deep and abiding commitment to strengthening the family and sustaining it with love. This historic event will give thousands from around the globe the opportunity to share in the same commitment of our Patron Saints.”
During the Mass, Archbishop Chaput also unveiled and blessed a relic of St. John Paul II's blood for the veneration of the faithful.
The 2015 World Meeting of Families will be held Sept. 22-27 under the theme, “Love is our mission: the family fully alive.” Tens of thousands from across the world are anticipated to attend the event.
The World Meeting of Families began in 1994 by the Pontifical Council for the Family under St. John Paul II. Its mission is to strengthen families across the globe, encouraging them to live their faith with joy and sincerity.
St. John Paul II has a special link to Philadelphia, as he was the first Pope to visit the city, in 1979. The late pope was declared “pope of the family” during his canonization.
St. Gianna, mother of four, died while giving birth to her last child. Beatified in 1994, St. John Paul II canonized her in 2004. She is strongly associated with the mission of the family, and has been declared the patron of mothers, physicians, and unborn children.