The World Meeting of Families (WMOF) is an international event occurring every three years since it’s inauguration in 1994. Convened by the Pontifical Council for the Family which was founded by St. John Paul II in 1984 to promote family well-being around the world, the World Meeting has been hosted by Rome in 1994, Rio de Janeiro in 1997, Rome again in 2000, Manila in 2003, Valencia, Spain in 2006, Mexico City in 2009 and Milan in 2012. The 2015 Philadelphia Congress will be the first time the WMOF will be hosted by the United States.
According to organizers, the Philadelphia Congress will be the best attended WMOF since its founding, with upwards of 20,000 registrants attending the weeklong event that begins Tuesday, September 22.
Although sponsored by the Catholic Church, WMOF is an ecumenical event dedicated to promoting the well-being of families everywhere. It will be attended by Church leaders, family life ministers, psychologists and social service professionals, researchers, and families from around the world.
This 2015 WMOF occurs at a time when family life faces its most radical challenges, from efforts to redefine the very nature of what constitutes family life to the fact that even so-called traditional families largely have ceased to function as cohesive units in any meaningful way. In the post-modern era, extra-curricular activities, school and work are largely expected to provide the socialization, education, formation and fellowship that family life was formerly expected to provide. Families have been reduced to accessories. We have them but we do not expect to have to work at them.
Pope Francis has been addressing this crisis in family life throughout his pontificate, telling parents that too many children have become “orphans within the family” because their parents are choosing to spend their time and energy elsewhere. On several occasions, Pope Francis has challenged parents to simply “waste time” with their children, so that true intimacy can develop between parents and children and families and
The theme for the 2015 Congress is Love is Our Mission: The Family “Fully Alive” The theme draws from St Irenaeus’ famous quote that “The glory of God is man, fully alive” and points to the fact that family is the place that each human being is formed in both love and personhood. Healthy families produce healthy people and a healthy society. The meeting will give famlies and family professionals an opportunity to “waste time” with each other so that they can more effectively encounter the culture and call attention to the importance of being intentional about family life so that it can become what it is; the foundation of a just, loving, healthy society.