Frequently Asked Questions
Refer to the resources below to answer some commonly asked questions about the event.
What is the World Meeting of Families?
The World Meeting of Families is a week-long international event of prayer, catechesis, and celebration that draws participants from around the globe. It seeks to strengthen the bonds between families and to witness to the crucial importance of marriage and the family to all of society. The World Meeting of Families consists of a Theological Adult Congress, and a concurrent Youth Congress, followed by The Festival of Families and the Papal Mass.
The Adult Congress is for ages 18 and up, and consists of 6 keynote addresses presented by internationally known and engaging speakers. These keynotes are followed by multiple breakout sessions to address ways to strengthen the bonds of family. The content can be viewed on the website under Speakers.
The Youth Congress is for ages 6-18 and is an interactive program where young people can build, create, play, listen, serve and embrace the Mission of Love that brings Families Fully Alive.
On Saturday night, the Festival of Families will take place. This is a celebratory event for families that will include different types of cultural and musical performances. The Festival of Families will be attended by the Holy Father.
On Sunday, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The time for the Mass has not yet been determined. The Mass will be open to the public.
Pope Francis will not be attending the Congress, but is expected to attend the Festival of Families and Sunday Papal Mass.
When is the World Meeting of Families held?
This is the 8th World Meeting of Families and will be the first time that it will be held in the United States! The World Meeting of Families-Philadelphia 2015 will take place on September 22nd-September 27th 2015. Saint John Paul II, in response to the need of families everywhere, asked the Pontifical Council for the Family to organize the first World Meeting of Families. It was held in Rome in 1994. The others have been in Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015).
Will Pope Francis be attending the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia?
Yes! Detailed plans for Pope Francis’ visit have not yet been finalized and are expected to be released in spring or summer of 2015. However, on November 17, 2014, the Holy Father announced that he will be joining us in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. Pope Francis will not attend the Congress at the Convention Center, but we expect him to participate in the closing events of the Eighth World Meeting of Families, September 26-27. These events include the Festival of Families, an intercultural celebration of family life around the world, which will be held on Saturday, September 26, and a Papal Mass to be held on Sunday, September 27. Both of these events will take place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the heart of Philadelphia, and will be open to the public.
Are there tickets available for the Papal Events?
The Papal events on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Festival of Families and Papal Mass) will be free and open to the public.
Where is the World Meeting of Families being held?
The World Meeting is being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 22nd and end on Sunday, September 27th, 2015.
The World Meeting of Families Congress will take place in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the heart of Philadelphia, from September 22nd to September 25th.
The Festival of Families and Papal Mass will both take place outside on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, September 26th to the 27th.
The Congress, Festival of Families & Papal Mass are three separate events. Registration is not required for the Festival of Families nor the Papal Mass.
What happens during the World Meeting of Families?
There are many activities to attend during the World Meeting, with fun activities for everyone, whatever their situation, including singles (vowed/consecrated or lay), married couples with or without children, extended families, and clergy. The focal point of the meeting is the International Theological – Pastoral Congress in which dynamic speakers guide the attendees through presentations, discussions, and workshops to fully understand the Preparatory Catechesis created for the meeting. This congress will include events for all ages, with content in the Youth Congress for ages 6-18. Childcare will be available for those 6 months to 6 years.
What is the schedule of the World Meeting of Families?
The program has yet to be finalized but we do know that there will be an Opening Celebration on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 followed by three days of fun for everyone, including: Mass, General Sessions, and Breakout Sessions that allow plenty of time for faith sharing. There will also be Adoration, Sacrament of Reconciliation, and fun activities. On Saturday night, the Festival of Families will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and on Sunday mass will be celebrated by the Holy Father. The most recent schedule of events is located on the World Meeting of Families website under “Agenda.” Please visit this website regularly for the most up-to-date information regarding finalized WMOF events.
Where will I be able to see the Pope?
Go to www.worldmeeting2015.org/papal-visit/papal-itinerary-2/ for the specific details of the Papal visit. Pope Francis is expected to attend the Festival of Families on September 26th and celebrate Mass on Sunday, September 27th. Both of these events will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, PA
Who is invited to the World Meeting of Families?
Everyone is welcome to attend! The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 will be a truly universal experience.
Does the World Meeting of Families have a theme?
Yes. Each World Meeting of Families has a theme that emphasizes the family and its intrinsic value to the good of society. The theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families, chosen by Pope Francis, is “Love Is Our Mission: the Family Fully Alive.”
What is the Registration Fee and what is included?
Registrations fees can be viewed on our website under Registration. Here you can view multiple packages that are available for Youth and Adults.
Will the Pope be attending the World Meeting of Families Congress at the PA Convention Center?
No, the Holy Father will not be attending the World Meeting of Families Congress happening from Tuesday, September 22nd through Friday September 25th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
What is the best form of transportation to get to the Papal events?
Attendees are encouraged to use public transportation for all weekend events. Plans are still being developed to accommodate the number of vehicles that will be traveling in and around the city throughout the weekend. Check back to our transportation section of the website to stay informed on the most current transportation plans.
How can I make a donation to the World Meeting of Families?
If you would like to help make this historic event a reality, instantly make a secure credit card gift to the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia by visiting the “Donate” page here on our website. You can also Light A Candle, and make a donation with your intentions, which will be brought to the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul here in Philadelphia.
Or you can mail a donation to:
World Meeting of Families — Philadelphia
222 North Seventeenth Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
All donations will be used to support the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015.
What lodging options will be available for the World Meeting?
Hotel reservations for the Congress portion of the World Meeting can be made when you register for the World Meeting of Families. Hotels in Philadelphia are still determining rates for the weekend of the Papal visit. The ability to book a hotel from Friday-Sunday is now open on our Places to Stay page. Those who register for the World Meeting of Families Congress will be notified when this ability becomes available.
Host a Family As an alternative to hotel accommodations and to support the volume of people coming to the Philadelphia area, Philadelphia area families can open their doors to our visitors. For more information about getting involved and to register as a host, please visit “Host a Family” page. The ability to register as a visiting family and confirm a place to stay, will be available in early 2015.
Are families encouraged to attend?
We encourage all families from around the world to visit Philadelphia and attend the World Meeting of Families in 2015—an event which will be a family-friendly and faith-filled. The Congress will include engaging speakers for adults, lively activities for youth, and daycare for ages 6 months to 6 years. Individuals and single people are encouraged to attend as well.
When can I make hotel reservations during the weekend of the 25th-27th?
The ability to make reservations for the weekend of the Papal Visit is now open. Go to Places to Stay to find available hotel rooms.
Will there be youth programming available during the World Meeting?
A Youth Congress, designed to complement the Adult Congress will be offered at the World Meeting for ages 6-18. This will be an interactive congress with all kinds of programming where young people can build, create, play, listen, serve and embrace the Mission of Love that brings Families Fully Alive. Learn about the Youth Congress and numerous activities offered.
What entertainment options will be available for the World Meeting attendees?
Philadelphia is home to many of the finest museums, cultural institutions, historic sites, neighborhoods, and entertainment offerings in the world. We invite all of the visitors and attendees of the World Meeting of Families to immerse themselves in the richly cultural, historical, and artistically diverse venues and locations that Philadelphia has to offer. Please visit the “The Things To Do” page under the Plan Your Visit tab on the World Meeting of Families website.
Will there be special discounts at Museums and Tourist Attractions for World Meeting attendees?
Check back in the late summer of 2015 to see all discounts available.
Will provisions be made for attendees with disabilities?
We are working closely with the Convention Center and event management consultants to ensure that the wants and needs of all of our attendees are provided for in a safe and comfortable fashion. For more information and resources, go to the “Accessibility” page here on our site.
Will provisions be made for non-English speaking attendees?
Translation services will be provided for the six keynotes. Language needs are still being assessed. More languages may be added once we have a better understanding of the home countries of our attendees registering for the Congress. All keynote sessions will have Spanish, Italian, French, Vietnamese and ASL simultaneously interpreted. To view the list of keynote and breakout sessions and languages offered, visit our Congress page.
Where in the United States is Philadelphia located?
Philadelphia is located in the Northeast portion of the United States, approximately 90 minutes south of New York City and three hours north of Washington D.C.
What is the weather like in Philadelphia in September?
The average temperature in Philadelphia in September is 75° F / 25° C during the day and 55° F / 15° C in the evening.
Is Philadelphia easily accessible by airplane, train or bus?
Philadelphia International Airport, one of the busiest in the World, is 10 miles from the Convention Center and offers local rail service to downtown every 30 minutes.
30th Street Station is the home to AMTRAK, a national rail service, and SEPTA, a regional and local rail service.
The Greyhound Bus Terminal is across the street from the Convention Center.
Does public transportation provide easy access to and from the Convention Center?
Bus and train services are accessible from locations in and around the Philadelphia area. The Convention Center is conveniently located and easily accessible by public transportation. Please visit the “Travel and Transportation” page to view regional transportation options.