Pope Francis makes U.S debut later this month

-Eizabeth O’Hara, RGC Editor

Approximately 80 people will join the more than 1.5 million people expected for the Mass with Pope Francis in Philadelphia later this month said organizers of the next World Meeting of Families.RGC Sept _Page_5_Image_0001

“I’m thrilled that we have such a strong showing from the Diocese of El Paso,” said Deacon Frank Segura, director of the diocese’s Marriage and Family Life ministry.

By June, about 12,000 people were registered for the Sept. 22-25 congress, which will feature speakers on an array of issues affecting family life. The meeting is held every three years. This year’s theme is “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”

“The world meeting is always well attended but we believe that the popularity of the Pope, as well as this being his inaugural visit to the United States, it really sparked a lot of interest in our diocese,” said Segura.

Pope Francis’ visit will take place from Sept. 26-27 after stops in Washington D.C. where he will address a joint session of Congress and New York City, where he is expected to made an address to the United Nations.

Besides the papal Mass Sept. 27, which will close the World Meeting of Families, the pope is also expected to be at the Festival of Families Sept. 26. Organizers are expecting about 750,000 people for the festival, held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway; it will include performances by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Colombian pop star Juanes and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Themes for the family congress will include talks that address new technologies, ecology, fertility and dealing with marriage breakups. Some of the speakers listed include Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston and Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. Father Robert Barron and Scott Hahn, as well as Rev. Rick Warren and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, are slated among the speakers.

Approximately 30 percent of the speakers are non-Catholic and the congress is open to all.

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