Catholics all over North America are excited about the arrival of Pope Francis to the United States this week. One of the highlights of his trip will be a visit to Philadelphia to underline his love and concern for the family as an endnote to the World Meeting on the Family.
But while all eyes are on the pope, more than 10,000 people will be busy all week reflecting on the challenges of the family in modern life in the Philadelphia Congress Centre. There will be many hundreds of Canadians there, with representation expected from almost every diocese in Canada. And one small group will be your friends here at Novalis; Maria Medeiros and I will be part of a contingent of publishing folks from the Bayard international family of Catholic publishers.
The World Meeting on the Family gets underway today, Sept. 22, and runs until Friday, Sept. 25. The delegates will attend workshops, pray and worship together, ponder how they can encourage and support parents and their children as they face all the difficulties of modern life.
Then they will join hundreds of thousands of others to greet Pope Francis when he arrives Saturday to celebrate a grand outdoor Eucharist.
The theme of the meeting is: Love is Our Mission — the Family Fully Alive. A quick look at the agenda offers the following:
- Speakers such as Fr. Robert Barron, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Scott Hahn and Helen Alvaré;
- Inspiring daily liturgies;
- A film festival full of family-friendly entertainment;
- An afternoon at which publishers will explore how to encourage Bible reading at home;
- Exhibits of Vatican art and other awe-inducing displays.
Long before the pope’s visit was confirmed, Catholics engaged in family ministry had committed themselves to coming to Philadelphia this week. For them, the challenges facing the family—unemployment, domestic abuse, the lure of pornography, increasingly aggressive secularism—require both united effort and prayer. They will have both in spades this week and go home inspired and encouraged to live out their faith in that domestic church called the family.
-Joseph Sinasac, Publishing Director
Visit our booth at the congress and meet Joseph and Maria. Learn more about our ministry to the Canadian church. We hope to see you there!