At a news conference held in the city of Philadelphia, it was announced that an official date had been set for city leaders, who will be traveling to Rome in preparation for a major Roman Catholic gathering in 2015.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Archbishop Charles Chaput, as well as many others will travel to Rome on March 23 to the 27. They will be meeting with other archbishops, creating timelines, and gathering statistics for the Eighth World Meeting of Families, a worldwide Catholic event.
In June of 2012, Philadelphia was picked as the next host city of the event that is to be held on Sept 22 through Sept 27, 2015.
Stated from the official website for the World Meeting of Families 2015, worldmeeting2015.org, the event believes that "since its inception by Blessed John Paul II in 1994, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe. Each World Meeting of Families has a theme, which aims to emphasize the good news of the family and highlight its intrinsic value to the good of society."
At today's news conference, Nutter explained that the specific theme for the event has yet to be determined.
Nutter and Corbett will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs next to Chaput, and will be traveling with five other members of the business community, including such businesses as Comcast, and Independence Blue Cross.
Towards the event of the March visit, Corbett and Nutter will be meeting Pope Francis, for a private meeting, in hopes of persuading him to visit Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families. It is unclear at this moment if the Pope will be attending. Nutter believes that the impact on the city would be tremendous if he did.
"We'll use every possible mode of persuasion, including calling on the Jesuit values of being a man for others, to come to Philadelphia in 2015...We are planning this event as if he were coming," said Nutter.
Nutter also stressed how this event would have a huge impact on the city, "which will likely be the largest our region has ever experienced or seen at one time in terms of size, scope, and economic impact."
Corbett mentions that this event could bring "a possible one million people in attendance" and could bring in millions of dollars to the city.
In retrospect to the event itself, and its impact on those of all faiths, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and even those with no religion at all, Chaput had this to say, which is also printed on the official site.
“I believe that this event has the power to transform, in deeply positive ways, not just the Catholic Church, but our entire community. This meeting is a valuable opportunity for the City and the Commonwealth to welcome all those with a generous heart to be part of this community event.”