This September, the World Meeting of Families is coming to Philadelphia, and will conclude with a closing mass from Pope Francis himself. Recently, Charles J. Chaput, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, urged local citizens--10,000 to be exact-- to volunteer for the event in whatever way possible, as nearly two million people are expected to attend.
In his weekly column, Chaput wrote, "First, World Meeting of Families is a very expensive event. Much of the heaviest fund-raising for WMOF is being done by generous corporate and major individual donors, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, because WMOF will be a boost for our whole region. But many parishioners have also asked how they can personally help. And that's a blessing, because we can use all the help that we can get."
He continued, "Second, WMOF will need 10,000 or more volunteers for the event. This is crucial, since volunteers will be the face of the local Catholic community throughout the meeting. Volunteer registration will open soon on the World Meeting of Families website at www.worldmeeting2015.org. All volunteers must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, and they must complete an online background check."
The archbishop adds that families are needed to register to attend the events, host visitors at their homes, and to get familiar with the World Meeting of Families catechesis Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive to represent the face of the Catholic community.
Francis and other Catholic officials will discuss the Catholic approach to marriage, family, and sexuality at the World Meeting, which will take place September 22-27. According to NBC Philadelphia, organizers expect up to 2 million people to attend the Pope's closing mass--500,000 more than the population of the city.
As part of his visit to the United States, Francis will also meet with President Obama at the White House, where, according to a statement from Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the two will speak about "caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities."
Later, for the first time in history, the Pope is expected to address the United States Congress as well as visit the U.N. General Assembly and Ground Zero in New York City.
A month later, the Pope will attend the annual Synod of Bishops, during which Church leaders will discuss how best to continue presenting the Catholic approach to family issues.
"The Church needs a prayer full of love for the family and for life," the pope told the St. Peter's Square general audience on Wednesday.
"Because of this, I ask you to pray insistently for the next Synod of Bishops, on the family, so that the Church is increasingly more committed and unified in her witness of the love and mercy of God with all families," he said.