Vatican City, Jun 25, 2015 / 14:31 pm
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia sees a providential link between September's World Meeting of Families and October's Synod on the Family. As a participant in both, he says the fresh experience from Philadelphia will be on his mind as he enters the Vatican Synod hall mere weeks later.
"I'm blessed with the opportunity of going to the Synod, and (the World Meeting of Families) is certainly going to impact me," Archbishop Chaput told CNA June 25.
Archbishop Chaput is one of four representatives chosen by his fellow US bishops to take part in the three-week October synod.
With the Sept. 27 conclusion of the World Meeting so close to the Oct. 4 start date of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Chaput said he is often asked if the juxtaposition was planned.
"I always respond that it must be God's providence," he related, adding that the World Meeting of Families was actually announced before the topic for the synod was.
While there will be no "formal" influence from the World Meeting of Families on the synod, he said many bishops participating in the Philadelphia event will also be at the Vatican for the three weeks of discussions on the family.
He and the Pope himself are two of them.
In addition to bringing the experience of the faithful to the synod, the Philadelphia archbishop said he will also be focused on bringing the message of the Vatican discussions to the faithful.
"Seeing all those people, interested in the improvement of their family life is going to make me – I would be serious anyway – but especially serious about making sure that whatever happens in the synod will be clearly communicated to the people of the Church because they really do depend on the bishops for the clear proclamation of Jesus Christ. And it's important that we do that."
During a press conference to update press on the 2015 World Meeting of Families at the Holy See press office, he said he's expecting a broader perspective on family life to come from this year's edition of the synod.
The archbishop lamented that during and since the 2014 synod, just "two or three questions that everyone seemed interested in" were given great focus, though "those are not the questions most families deal with."
He said most families in fact cope with "a multiplicity of issues" and that "we are trying to talk about all of those issues."
The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, also participated in the June 25 press conference. "The link is not by chance," Archbishop Paglia said of the World Meeting-Synod connection.
"It pushes all of us to promote, increase, create a new atmosphere among families. All families have to bring their vocation, their mission all over the world," he added.
Between the two events, he's hoping for "a new spring of families" and "a new wave, a new effort of the families in order to build a new kind of world, to push all people to become one family."
With a $45 million price tag only for organization, security, clean-up and other costs associated with the 2015 World Meeting of Families, Archbishop Chaput said it would be "a foolish waste of personal and financial resources" if it didn't leave a long-lasting legacy.
"If we just encourage husbands and wives to talk to one another more honestly and profoundly, to care for children in more secure kinds of ways and then encourage their neighbors and grandchildren to do the same, I think it can be a force for transformation of the society," he told journalists.
The Pope, too, has the World Meeting of Families on his mind, and is counting down the days.
At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square on June 24, he greeted the delegation from Philadelphia by holding up three fingers and saying, "Three months! Don't forget."