Vatican City, May 14, 2014 / 07:34 am
During a press conference held in Philadelphia, USA Vatican officials announced the theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families, which will center on humanity's universal vocation to love.
"Ladies and gentleman, the theme for the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 is, 'Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,'" Archbishop Charles J. Chaput revealed during the May 13 press conference.
Archbishop Chaput, who heads the diocese of Philadelphia, Penn. and was recently appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Council of the Laity, explained to attendees that the theme draws its inspiration from the famous saying of St Iranaeus of Lyons, who said that "The glory of God is man fully alive."
"In like manner, the glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves, and no better means exist to teach the meaning of love than the family."
Present alongside Archbishop Chaput was Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, monsignor Carlos Simone Vasquez of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Father Andrea Ciucci of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who traveled from Rome for the announcement.
Occurring Sept. 22-27, 2015, the World Meeting of Families initially began with the 1994 "Year of the Family" instituted by Saint John Paul II, and is now organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family every three years in order to strengthen sacred familial bonds all over the world.
Speaking again of the theme, Archbishop Chaput noted that it was also inspired by the life and actions of Pope Francis, "who embodies the message of mercy, joy and love that lies at the heart of the Gospel."
"His compassion for the genuine needs of people and his deep care for the institution of the family are very much part of this scene" he observed, adding that "Irenaeus reminds each of us that love should be our life's mission and that it's the engine of life."
Recalling the theme of the 2012 event, which followed the theme "The Family: Work and Celebration," the archbishop explained that while brainstorming about what the possible theme for 2015 could be, they tried to keep in mind the historical elements of the city where it would take place.
"As many of you know from our history books, William Penn founded this colony as a holy experiment – an example to the nations" he recalled, noting that "His Charter of Privileges guaranteed religious freedom to all."
Drawing attention to how the city of Philadelphia opened its doors to various different religions including Quakers, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists and Mennonites, the archbishop pointed out that the city "was a blueprint for democracy. It was founded upon liberty and tolerance."
"Surely there were tensions that arose as customs and languages weren't necessarily shared, but as we know Philadelphians, even today, strive to find what unites rather than divides us."
Referring to the building selected to make the official announcement of the theme, which overlooks the city's Independence Mall, Archbishop Chaput explained that it was chosen precisely "because it is a beautiful reflection of why Philadelphia will be an extraordinary host to the World Meeting of Families, and hopefully, a place to welcome Pope Francis."
Bringing his comments to a close, the archbishop expressed his excitement "to see how this theme will inspire all that will happen" during the events of the encounter.