Pope heading to USA? Next world families’ meeting in Philly 2015

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The adoration of the Magi is depicted in a painting in the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

MILAN, Italy — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will host the next World Meeting of Families in 2015, an event attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. It will be the first time the event, established by Blessed John Paul II in 1994, will be held in the United States.

Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement June 3 after the five-day event’s closing Mass to some 850,000 people gathered at Milan’s outdoor Bresso park.

“I send my warm greetings to Archbishop Charles Chaput and to the Catholics of that great city, and look forward to meeting them there along with numerous families from all around the world,” he said. “God willing,” he would take part, he said.

The pope would be 88 in 2015 and it would mark his second trip to the United States, his first to Philadelphia, as pope.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, went on stage to greet the pope. The pope, who chooses the venue for each world families’ meeting, thanked the archbishop for his willingness to host.

The international gathering, which celebrates and aims to help families live their Christian vocation, is held every three years and is organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Pope Benedict did not attend the Sixth world meeting in Mexico City in 2009 and spoke to families after the concluding Mass via live satellite link-up. Blessed John Paul did a similar satellite broadcast message at the concluding Mass when he could not attend the event in Manila in 2003 due to his limited physical mobility at 82.

The first world meeting was held in Rome in 1994. Since then it has taken place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1997; Rome in 2000; and Manila, Philippines, in 2003; Valencia, Spain, in 2006, Mexico City in 2009. Almost every meeting has drawn more than a million people.

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