World Meeting of Families pilgrims urged to commit

| February 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

Catholics planning to join the local pilgrimage to September’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia — and see Pope Francis there — are encouraged to register soon due to limited space, said Jean Stolpestad, director of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Marriage, Family and Life. The pilgrimage is Sept. 22-28.

A fee of $1,875 covers airfare, a six-night hotel stay, breakfast and two dinners, motor coach transportation in Philadelphia and historic sightseeing. Registration for the six-day conference is separate; the basic cost for an adult is currently $125 and will rise May 1.

For many meeting-goers, the main attraction is the event’s finale. Pope Francis is celebrating the closing Mass Sept. 27 as part of his first U.S. trip.

Pope St. John Paul II started the World Meeting of Families in 1994. Co-sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family and held every three years, it is “the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families,” according to organizers. It is being held in the U.S. for the first time. Topics will include challenges facing American families, such as urban family concerns, but “the overriding universality of the Church is going to be very well represented,” Stolpestad said.

Scheduled workshops are also expected to address marriage, separation, immigration, poverty, the elderly, childbearing, women in the family and the role of grandparents, she said.

“It is for the average person in the pew,” she added. It includes a track for children ages 6 to 17.

The local pilgrimage is partnering with all of Minnesota’s dioceses.

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