It is very exciting to here in “Pope-adelphia” along with St. Joseph’s Faith for Life Coordinator Jeanne Mooney, my husband Greg Kamp, and the Hood family – Chris, Maureen, Aidan, Madeline, and Monica.
Why did St. Joseph’s make this commitment to participate in this World Meeting of Families 2015? The WMOF happens once every three years, this being the first time in the U.S. Before the papal visit was part of this Congress and Festival of Families, we had registered to participate because of our deep conviction that the most meaningful learning in faith happens in the context of family, with parents as the first and foremost teachers of faith for their children. As the year’s events have unfolded and the Roman Catholic Church has placed an unprecedented emphasis on family, we come now also hoping to share the findings of our parish Family Synod survey, especially in light of the upcoming Synod of Bishops in Rome. We have journeyed with rich insights from St. Joseph’s parishioners about how to keep weekly celebration of the Eucharist as a family priority, as well as the need for greater clarity on Church teaching about family and relationship issues.
Today, as we arrived, Greg asked me, “But what can you really do at this meeting about these family concerns?”
The answer to that question became more clear as Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, preached at this afternoon’s beautiful opening liturgy, attended by thousands. He said that the goal of the WMOF2015 is to be renewed in our commitment to our own family life, to love our families more. We are here to learn from each other and to exchange ideas on how Christian family life is best lived in each of our communities. Chaput invited us “to rebuild the temple of the home, the church of Mom and Dad where we learn what Christian love is all about.”
Earlier at the opening keynote address, Bishop Robert Barron said, “The image of God is brought to life in the family where we are taught to be priest, prophet, and king…where basic moral truths are taught and lived.”
And so we look forward to the next three days of the WMOF2015 as the anticipation builds for the arrival of Pope Francis this Saturday! In closing, I share the prayer of Archbishop Chaput, “May God bring to completion the good things begun in us today.”