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November 17, 2014

Archdiocese of Philadelphia and World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015
Joyously Celebrate News of Pope Francis' Visit Next September



Philadelphia, PA (November 17, 2014) - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 today rejoiced as Pope Francis officially confirmed his visit to Philadelphia, PA for the Eighth World Meeting of Families, set to be held September 22-27, 2015.

The Holy Father formally announced his plans to come to Philadelphia during his opening remarks at the Humanum Colloquium, sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is currently underway in Rome, Italy. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. and a delegation of World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 organizers were present for the announcement as were Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Bishop Jean Lafitte, and Monsignor Carlos Simon Vaszquez of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which is the co-sponsor of the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015, with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, both the Archdiocese and the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 co-hosted an event in the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, which will serve as the backdrop for the World Meeting of Families' Festival of Families and the Papal Mass next September. Joined by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, an Honorary Co-Chair for the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015, and First Lady of the Commonwealth, Susan Corbett, the leadership for the World Meeting of Families, business and civic leaders from across the region as well as 200 Archdiocesan students celebrated the long-awaited - and now official - confirmation of Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia.

Governor Tom Corbett, Honorary Co-Chair for the World Meeting of Families -Philadelphia 2015, who was unable to attend today's celebratory event offered the following comment, "The World Meeting of Families provides the unique opportunity for all faiths to come together to reaffirm the importance of families in our communities and nation as well as part of the family of humanity. Pope Francis' presence will be an incomparable spiritual moment, and a moment of grace and tremendous pride for Philadelphia, for Pennsylvania, and for our nation."

"To have Pope Francis make his first trip to the United States and to have him come to our Commonwealth is an incredible blessing and an incredible opportunity," said First Lady Susan Corbett. "Philadelphia and all of Pennsylvania have so much to offer culturally, recreationally and historically and we welcome the chance to share it with the world."

Echoing Governor and Mrs. Corbett's sentiments, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, said, "This is a singular and spectacular moment for the City of Philadelphia. I vividly remember our leadership delegation's meeting with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square and our invitation to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection on behalf of millions. His response was so humbling in that he asked us to pray from him, and ever since, I have. But I have also prayed for his willingness to visit Philadelphia and to share in the goodness of this special place and its people. I know many others have done the same. Today these prayers are answered and we enthusiastically prepare to welcome him next September for what will be a once-in-a-generation moment for our city and region."


The Holy Father's visit will mark his first to the United States and he will be only the fourth reigning Pontiff to visit our nation in its history. The planning and execution of the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 had anticipated a papal visit and with today's confirmation, the organizing body will now aggressively move forward with that planning in advance of Pope Francis' visit in September 2015.

Commented Daniel J. Hilferty, President and CEO of Independence Blue Cross and a Co-Chair of the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 Executive Leadership Cabinet, "What a moment for all of us who love Philadelphia and champion it as a world-class city. In just 10 months, we will welcome visitors from around the globe - and now officially Pope Francis, who has not only reinvigorated the Church but has inspired conversations across all faiths. We must seize this wonderful opportunity as a moment of civic pride and deliver an event for the world that we all know we can. While the World Meeting of Families spans just six-days, we must ensure that Philadelphia not only embraces the global stage but remains on it for years to come after his visit."

Sponsored by the Holy See's Pontifical Council for the Family, the World Meeting of Families is a triennial global event that seeks to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe and highlight its intrinsic value to the good of society. Being held in the United States for the first time ever, the official theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families is "Love is our mission: the family fully alive." The gathering in 2015 is the first World Meeting of Families to be held during Pope Francis' papacy.

"I am delighted to know that all of our significant preparation and work for this global event will be witnessed and blessed by the Holy Father himself," said Mr. Robert J. Ciaruffoli, President of the World Meeting of Families. "Although much has been accomplished, there is still much to be done. This official confirmation from Pope Francis allows us to more deeply engage the planning process and to begin to fully envision what this event can be so that Philadelphia and the Commonwealth shine for the entire world to see."

For more information regarding the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 and Pope Francis' accompanying visit to Philadelphia, please visit www.worldmeeting2015.org.


About the World Meetings of Families
Beginning with 1994, The Year of the Family, the Pontifical Council for the Family has been responsible for organizing the World Meetings of Families in Rome (1994); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015). Since its inception by Saint John Paul II, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe.


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Contact
Kenneth A Gavin
Director of Communications
215-587-3747

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