VATICAN CITY — Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia announced Tuesday that the theme of the 2015 World Day of Families is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” during a press conference held in Philadelphia, the host city for the event.
Scheduled for Sept. 22-27, 2015, the World Day of Families initially began with the 1994 “Year of the Family” instituted by St. John Paul II, and it is now organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family every three years in order to strengthen sacred familial bonds all over the world.
Pope Benedict XVI announced Philadelphia as the site in June 2012.
Archbishop Chaput, who was recently appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Council of the Laity, explained to press conference attendees that the theme draws its inspiration from the famous saying attributed to St. Irenaeus of Lyon, who said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”
“In like manner, the glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves, and no better means exist to teach the meaning of love than the family.”
Present alongside Archbishop Chaput were Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Msgr. Carlos Simone Vasquez and Father Andrea Ciucci, both of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Speaking again of the theme, Archbishop Chaput noted that it was also inspired by the life and actions of Pope Francis, “who embodies the message of mercy, joy and love that lies at the heart of the Gospel.”
“His compassion for the genuine needs of people and his deep care for the institution of the family are very much part of this scene,” he observed, adding that “Irenaeus reminds each of us that love should be our life's mission and that it's the engine of life.”
Recalling the 2012 event, which followed the theme “The Family: Work and Celebration,” the archbishop explained that while brainstorming about what the possible theme for 2015 could be, they tried to keep in mind the historical elements of the city where it would take place.
“As many of you know from our history books, William Penn founded this colony as a holy experiment — an example to the nations,” he recalled, noting that “his Charter of Privileges guaranteed religious freedom to all.”
Drawing attention to how the city of Philadelphia opened its doors to various different religions, including Quakers, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists and Mennonites, the archbishop pointed out that the city “was a blueprint for democracy. It was founded upon liberty and tolerance.”
“Surely there were tensions that arose, as customs and languages weren't necessarily shared, but as we know, Philadelphians, even today, strive to find what unites rather than divides us.”