The U.S. debut of the World Meeting of Families will be in Philadelphia in 2015, according to an announcement from the Vatican this spring. Selected as the host city by Pope Benedict XVI before his resignation in February in coordination with the Pontifical Council for the Family, this marks the first time the event will be held in the U.S. It most recently drew more than a million people from 153 nations to a Mass celebrated by the Holy Father in Milan, Italy, in June 2012.

Since its inception by Blessed John Paul II in 1994, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the bonds of family across the globe. Each World Meeting of Families has a theme, which aims to emphasize the organization’s belief in the intrinsic value of the family to society.

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