For the first time ever, the Catholic Church in Scotland will be officially represented at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, between 22 and 25 September 2015.
The delegation will be led by Bishop John Keenan of Paisley and include Fr. Nicholas Monaghan from the Church’s National Commission for Marriage and the Family. They will be joined by John Deighan, former Parliamentary Officer of the Bishops Conference, now director of SPUC Scotland and his wife Angela, as well as Fr. John McGinley from the Archdiocese of Glasgow.
The World Meeting of Families, from 22 September – 25 September, is an international event of prayer, catechesis, and celebration that draws participants from around the globe. It seeks to strengthen the bonds between families and to witness to the crucial importance of marriage and the family to all of society.
The event is sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family and the host diocese, and the theme for this World Meeting is “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”
Speaking ahead of the gathering, Bishop John Keenan of Paisley said,
“We are happy Scotland is sending a strong delegation to this meeting. I cannot forget bring struck by the words of Pope St John Paul when he said, 'As the family goes, so goes the world'. He reminds us that the renewal of the Church as well as the safety and prospering of the human race depends on a culture of stable and happy marriage and family life.”
Bishop Keenan added:
“Pope Francis too identifies the crisis of the natural ecology as, in essence, a crisis of within our human ecology, of which the family is the heartbeat. Indeed you could almost see all the threats to our world best when you see the effect they have in undermining natural families. So I have high hopes for this World Meeting of Families, ahead of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, to cast some new light and give fresh energy to the Church's witness on behalf of the Family in our modern world.”
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Notes to editors
This is the 8th World Meeting of Families and will be the first time that it will be held in the United States.
As many as 150 nations, including Scotland will be represented, bringing together generations, different cultures and various socio-economic groups as well as families from multiple faith traditions.
The closing events will take place on Saturday, September 26 – Sunday, September 27 September when Pope Francis visits Philadelphia.
On Sunday, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
Saint John Paul II, asked the Pontifical Council for the Family to organize the first World Meeting of Families. It was held in Rome in 1994.
The others have been in Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015).