By Mark Abrams and Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Archdiocesan and Vatican officials today announced the theme of the “World Meeting of Families” scheduled for September 2015, here in Philadelphia.
It has been a whirlwind day of events for the Vatican’s visiting archbishop, Vincenzo Paglia, who came to Philadelphia to participate in the announcement of the theme for the World Families event here.
But he left the honors to Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the theme for the World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia 2015, is ‘Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,’ ” Chaput said. He was joined during a press conference on Independence Mall by the high-level delegation that went to Rome several weeks ago to meet with the pope. That included Gov. Tom Corbett, Mayor Michael Nutter, and a host of others (see related story).
Chaput says all families, even non-traditional families, are welcome.
“It’s primarily a Catholic gathering, so we’ll be talking about our Catholic understanding of marriage too but not in a way that would be offensive to other people.”
But it was Archbishop Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who was the guest of honor for today.
Paglia says the purpose of the interfaith gathering sponsored by the Vatican is to rekindle attention to the family as the center. He told the gathering that he views what will happen in Philadelphia as something that will have a big impact.
“Our family, to the family of the world,” he said. “This is my dream, and this dream I start to have in Philadelphia, the capital of Family of the World.”
Paglia is on a factfinding mission to identify sites for the events, including possible venues that could handle a papal visit.
During the city tour, the Vatican delegation was brought to the Cathedral Basilica on the Parkway.
But in September, 2015, the Art Museum steps may be better for an outdoor mass, for a million faithful.
Paglia says when he meets with Pope Francis, he will bring the love of the people of Philadelphia back to the Vatican and urge the Holy Father to attend.
“Surely, I will give to the Pope a little bell from Philadelphia.”
Officials here say they don’t have an official commitment from the pope — that won’t come until next March at the earliest — but Archbishop Chaput says he’s fairly confident that Pope Francis will be here and all the planning is geared toward the pope attending the World Families event.