Held every three years and sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family, the World Meeting of Families is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families. Each World Meeting of Families has a theme that energizes and enlivens the event while adding great depth of meaning to our understanding of families. The theme of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” emphasizing the impact of the love and life of families on our society. Since its inception by Saint John Paul II in 1994, the World Meeting of Families has strengthened the sacred bonds of families across the globe.
On June 30th, 2015, the Vatican released the comprehensive itinerary for Pope Francis’ journey to the United States, including his schedule for Philadelphia on September 26-27, which will close the 6-day Apostolic Journey. And ever-since that day I, (along with millions of others) have anticipated his arrival. I am still pinchity-pinching myself that I will be there!
Call me a fanatic, Jesus-freak, (did you know this is described in the urban dictionary???) Pope-stalker, or the likes; but really…it’s not that dramatic nor romantic! I’m just in awe of my God. I’m in awe of His love for me. His love for others. And the deep-desire He has to reign down his grace and His mercy upon us. God can never be outdone in His generosity & as I have opened my heart to Him more & more I have seen this great love FOR US…Every. Single. Day.
My enthusiasm for Our Holy Father is rooted in his “YES” to God to lead us in this endeavor. Pope Francis’ trust in God, strengthens my trust in him and in my Church. He leads me, guides me, & reminds me what the Gospels teach. I am grateful for the courage he embraces to be challenged, mocked, judged, and ridiculed for this trust in a God he knows intimately. And I am inspired that Pope Francis encourages, invites, and WELCOMES everyone to partake in this same unconditional love our Heavenly Father offers, as we place our trust in Him. The Pope reminds each of us: we are ALL sinners, himself included, BUT that Jesus stands AT the door of our hearts & knocks. However, WE must open the door!! The door-handle is ours to hold, to turn, to open. And I pray, if it hasn’t already been done, countless people, through the blessings of the Holy Father’s visit, find themselves pulling open the door which separates them from receiving God’s great love for them. This is what Christs’ vicar is showing us how to do in his papacy and I am so grateful…I cannot wait to be in Philly so I may tell him so!
Exactly how will I tell him??? (I promise not to break any security-breeches in my endeavor.) Through my prayers, of course! My participation in this pilgrimage will be encased in prayers. All forms of prayer! Prayers of sacrifice & fasting. Prayers of gratitude, intentions & petitions. (To discover the difference between the two click on the link.) And I am collecting all forms from anyone who desires me to include theirs with mine. I will offer them at the final Papal Mass or if I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit the Mary, Undoer of Knots Grotto in Philly I promise to “tie” your prayers to this special location.
My first prayer, after delivering all the others brought from each of you, will be as I said earlier, my gratitude. However, my biggest prayer is inspired by the tender-little-one shown below. Her message tugs at my heart for personal reasons. And her message is so very poignant to what the theme for The World Meetings of Families is all about…LOVE IS OUR MISSION. May it remain a theme in our lives forever…for the sake of our families…for the sake of one another.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
hugs n’ blessings to all the little-ones who: “try to do my best in my heart.”
So that everyone can smile…