By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – The Office of Family Ministry invites Catholics from any part of the diocese to join a delegation set to attend the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit to Philadelphia in September, 2015. Delegation members must pay their own travel costs, but Jennifer Eidt, head of the Office of Family Ministry said a travel agency will take care of all the details involved in the trip and conference.
In a Dec. 9 letter to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which will sponsor the Sept. 22-27 World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis said the church is seeking ways “to proclaim the Gospel of marriage and the family” in a way that responds to “the social and cultural contexts in which we live.”
“The challenges of these contexts stimulate us to enlarge the spaces of faithful love open to life, to communion, mercy and solidarity,” the pope said. Catholic couples, priests and parish communities must “let themselves be guided by the word of God, which is the foundation for the holy construction of the family as a domestic church and of the family of God.”
Saint Pope John Paul II created the World Meeting of Families in 1994 in Rome to explore the critical role the family plays in society. The theme for the 2015 meeting is “Love is our Mission, the family fully alive.” It will feature an adult track for people 18 and older and a youth track for students age 6-17.
There will be keynote sessions with speakers such as Father Robert Barron, founder of Word on Fire Ministries speaking about being created for joy and love and Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, OFM Cap., whose keynote is “the light of the family in a dark world.”
Breakout sessions include topics from dating and parenthood to blended families and the sacrament of reconciliation in a family setting. A preliminary schedule with all the breakouts scheduled so far is available on the website www.worldmeeting2015.org.
The Diocese of Jackson hopes to send at least 25 people to the Synod and papal visit, but needs firm commitments by Jan. 30, 2015, so the tour group can get to work putting together the trip. Contact Jennifer Eidt for information at 601-960-8487 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Maureen Smith