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Love is Our Mission
Thursday, October 29, 2015

THE WORLD Meeting of Families took place in Philadelphia at the packed Pennsylvannia Convention Center from September 22-25, 2015. The WMOF began a week-long focus on the current situation of the Family but also a celebration of it, in anticipation and preparation for the arrival and visit of Pope Francis from September 26-27. More than 17,000 participants came from all over the world, the largest number in its history.

Among these were Couples for Christ from the USA and from other countries, including the Philippines.

“Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive”, the theme of the WMOF, emphasized the challenges and fulfilment that come from living out our God-given design as humans: fully loved by Him and in response, called to love our families and communities. The exploration of the theme spanned over four days, during which thought-provoking speakers engaged the attendees in five keynote sessions and over 70 breakout sessions.

The distinguished speakers included Bishop Robert Barron who opened the first morning with his intellect-filled session on living as images of God. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle genuinely spoke from the heart on the family as a home for the wounded heart on the third day. Other notable speakers included Cardinal Robert Sarah, Professor Helen Alvare, Dr. Scott Hahn , Dr. Juan Francisco de la Guardia Brin and wife Gabriela de la Guardia Brin. Pastor Rick Warren and Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley tag-teamed the closing session of the WMOF.

Holy Mass was celebrated daily and beautifully. The Most Reverent Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia and one of the main spokespersons of WMOF activities, presided at the first Mass preceded by a long procession of the world’s bishops and clergy. So long in fact, that the choir re-sung the entrance hymn (“Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom”, the official hymn of WMOF) many times.

The conference also featured a three-day open exhibit of booths and vendors. Some “Catholic elite" like Christopher West (Theology of the Body) and Jason Evert (Chastity Project) stationed themselves at their booth and made themselves available for casual conversations with passers-by. Religious congregations (Salesians, Oblates of Saint Joseph to name a few) also did the same, sharing their charism, mission and opportunities for vocation retreats.

The different companies sold religious articles from wooden crosses, to holy statues and Spanish mantillas, from“Popeful” shirts and active wear to books. Some also offered services, such as Catholic radio, language services, theology of the body and marriage preparation courses. Some of these were freely given, all of these priceless in value, as they serve as resources that enable the work of all family missionaries.

In sum, the World Meeting of Families reminded all of the attendees of the urgency of the common mission of bringing the love of Christ to the families. We pray now for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Ordinary Assembly Synod of Bishops continues the discussion on the vocation and mission of the family from October 4-25.

The next World Meeting of Families is to be held in Dublin, Ireland, in 2018. Until then, may we remain in unity with others and in love with Christ as we move forward in our own mission - families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth. (Ellish Maigue-Talacca, CFC-Youth FTPW)



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