“The Church in Philadelphia is also a community in need of healing and renewal,” Archbishop Chaput acknowledged. “We have a very serious duty to help persons who have been hurt in the past to heal, and to better protect children and young people moving forward.”
However, he continued, beyond this critical duty is the Church’s foundational “obligation to preach Jesus Christ” and to aid people in finding God and living out “their faith with joy and conviction.”
Faithful Catholics realize that, the archbishop explained, and they long for an opportunity “to show their love of God and his Church to the world, to deepen God’s presence in their own families, and to share Jesus Christ with a world that urgently needs him.”
The logo for the eighth World Meeting of Families was also unveiled on Feb. 25 – a bell with a cross and five distinct figures, designed to reflect “family unity, the city itself and also, the city’s role as the birthplace of religious freedom in the United States,” according to a statement by the archdiocese.
Archbishop Chaput also announced that Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter will serve as honorary co-chairs of the 2015 gathering.
“Philadelphia is the birthplace of religious freedom,” said Governor Corbett, “and our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples are places of both personal faith and civic freedom.”
“But it is our families that grow up in these institutions that are the foundation of that freedom.”
The governor – who is Catholic – quoted Pope John Paul II, saying, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
He noted that faithful families have “played a profound role in building not only Philadelphia but the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” which today is a state that is “enriched by our diversity of faiths.”
“This special event is not only an opportunity to welcome families from around the world but an opportunity to celebrate our distinctive religious heritage as a state and a nation,” he said.
Mayor Nutter said that he was “delighted and honored” that Philadelphia had been chosen to host the World Meeting of Families.
“Family is the cornerstone of society and strengthening it serves all of our people in Philadelphia – Catholic and non-Catholic alike,” he stressed.