This past month of September, an event in the US took place that was the highlight of public opinion forums and discussions across the world, the visit of Pope Francis to Cuba and the US. The main purpose of the Pontiff´s visit to the US was the World Meeting of Families, which took place September 22nd through the 25th.
World Meeting of Families was an initiative inaugurated by his Holiness Pope John Paul II, coordinated by the Pontifical Council for the Family and are celebrated every three years. The purpose of the events is to reflect on the challenges, trials and problems that families are facing across the world. Many leaders that deal with the theme of the family attend the event. In a climate of prayers, conferences and community gathering the church attempts to accompany all the families of the world so that they can accomplish God´s plan in the best possible way.
The event was beautiful. Numerous delegations from around the world participated, from which the North American and Asian delegations stood out. The daily liturgy was the main event and was celebrated in such a beautiful way in which the choir, the ministers, celebrants, and multitude of attendants just overjoyed praising God and in praying for all the families of the world. In parallel to the celebration of liturgy there were also many diverse activities that would complement this across the day including concerts, testimonials, and discussion panels among many others.
In this context there was a mayor exhibition of apostolates and works dedicated to the support and education of the family, and this is where we participated setting up a stand to promote the Holy Land. Our main theme was- Pilgrimage to the Holy Land as an opportunity to strengthen the faith and unity of families.
Our booth was tended by Fathers Juan Solana LC and Eamon Kelly LC, as well as an enthusiastic group of volunteers led by Fonda Mcgowan who helped us coordinate and direct the volunteer process.
We had some intense days of work but also of great satisfaction. It was truly a very joyous encounter and we had the opportunity to see many people whom we had previously met in the Holy Land, as well as meet with people who had great curiosity and wanted to visit the Holy Land in the near future.
When the Pope finally arrived, there was great joy. It was in this historical context the Catholic Church prepared for the start of the Synod of Bishops on the Family and that we were witnessing the presence of Peter among us, a truly joyful experience as well as an example to follow in his simplicity, his calming words and his unadorned lifestyle.
A most sincere thank you to all those who helped support this initiative, those who hosted us in Philly with so much charity, and those who helped with their own grain of sand to make this event possible.
It was an honor to represent the Holy Land, or as Saint Gerome called it, “The Fifth Gospel,” at this event, and we pray and hope that God allow this experience to be a more common one among each of us who believe in his son our Lord, Jesus.