Philadelphia to host World Meeting of Families

Archbishop Chaput invites all to once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

world-meeting-of-families-philadelphia-2015-logoOnce describing the Christian family as “the most effective means for humanizing and personalizing society,” St. John Paul II launched the World Meeting of Families (WMF) in 1994 to bring families together from all over the world to dialogue and pray about ways to strengthen their bonds.

Every three years since, the event has been held at the Holy Father’s invitation—in Italy, Brazil, Philippines, Spain and Mexico—and next year, for the first time, it will be held in the United States when hosted in Philadelphia Sept. 22-27, 2015. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Denver’s shepherd from 1997 to 2011 and now head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, is a primary organizer of the event.

“The mission of the World Meeting of Families: to show the joy of authentic family life to the world, and to invite others from around the world to share in it,” he wrote in an invitation last March. “(It’s) an opportunity for renewal that comes once in a lifetime.”

The event is expected to draw thousands, and if Pope Francis attends, more than 1 million. Archbishop Chaput has frequently shared his confidence that the Holy Father will attend based on personal conversations with him.

“There’s never any guarantee that the pope will attend until the Holy See officially confirms it. That usually happens about six months in advance,” Archbishop Chaput told America magazine Aug. 11. “But we’re confident at this point that he intends to come if circumstances allow.”

The 2015 meeting is unique in that it is nestled between two Vatican assemblies of the world’s bishops. In October 2013, Pope Francis announced there would be an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family and evangelization Oct. 5-19, 2014. That will be followed by an Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 4-25, 2015, on the same topics, creating an unofficial year of the family.

“Marriage and family are obviously on (the pope’s) mind because he called the extraordinary and ordinary synod,” Archbishop Chaput said. “The country is currently absorbed in an ongoing debate about the nature of sexuality, marriage and family life, so (the pope’s) support for the Christian vision of marriage and family would have a ripple effect.”

Specifically, the synod discussions are expected to focus on pastoral responses to divorce, cohabitation, same-sex marriage, along with other challenges to the family. A 2008 Census Bureau survey showed fewer Americans are married today: 55 percent of males  and 50 percent of females (age 18-plus), while the divorce rate is estimated to hover around 40 to 50 percent. From 1990 to 2008, the number of cohabitating households (partners of the opposite sex living together without being married) more than doubled, according to the Pew Research Center. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriages. And more babies are born to unwed mothers than ever before, with unmarried women accounting for 41 percent of births in 2011, up from 5 percent in 1960.

“We’ve never needed healthy families more urgently than now,” said Archbishop Chaput, adding that families are also challenged by “addictive consumption of goods,” debt and parents working more. “Families have no time to be a family.”

To help prepare for the WMF, a preparatory catechesis document “Love is Our Mission—the Family Fully Alive” was released Sept. 16.

“The catechesis … will help parish and diocesan leaders, catechists and other interested persons prepare Catholics across the globe for next year’s meeting,” Archbishop Chaput said at a Vatican press conference Sept. 16.

He also presented the Pontifical Council for the Family with an iconic painting of the Holy Family, with the Blessed Mother’s parents, Anne and Joachim, commissioned for the WMF. The theme of the meeting is “Love is Our Mission: the Family Fully Alive.”

The Archdiocese of Denver is expected to organize a pilgrimage to Philadelphia for the meeting. Details will be announced as they are available. For more information, visit

The World Meeting of Families 2015 Official Prayer
God and Father of us all,
in Jesus, your Son and our Savior,
you have made us your sons and daughters
in the family of the Church.

May your grace and love
help our families
in every part of the world
be united to one another
in fidelity to the Gospel.

May the example of the Holy Family,
with the aid of your Holy Spirit,
guide all families, especially those most troubled,
to be homes of communion and prayer
and to always seek your truth and live in your love
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

COMING UP: Colorado Catholic Conference 2021 Legislative Recap

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On June 8, the First Regular Session of the 73rd General Assembly adjourned. Over 600 bills were introduced this session. Policy primarily focused on transportation, agriculture, healthcare, fiscal policy, and the state budget. However, the legislature also considered and passed many bills that could impact the Catholic Church in Colorado.  

Some bills that were passed will uphold Catholic social teaching and protect the poor and vulnerable of our society while others pose potentially harmful consequences to the Catholic Church, its affiliated organizations, and Colorado citizens who wish to practice their well-founded convictions. There were also many bills that were considered by the legislature that did not pass, including two bills that would have upheld the sanctity of life and two that would have expanded education opportunity for K-12 students.  

The Colorado Catholic Conference (CCC), as the united voice of the four Colorado bishops, advocated for Catholic values at the Capitol and ensured that the Church’s voice was heard in the shaping of policy.  

Below is a recap of the CCC’s 19 priority bills from the 2021 legislative session. For a full list of the legislation the Conference worked on, please visit:  

For regular updates and other information, please sign-up for the CCC legislative network here.  

Six bills the CCC supported that were either passed or enacted

Note: Passed means the bill was approved by both chambers of the legislature and is pending the governor’s signature as of June 9, 2021. Enacted means the bill was signed by the governor and became law.  

HB 21-1011 Multilingual Ballot Access for Voters – Passed  
If enacted, counties where either 2,000 adults or 2.5% of the adult population primarily speak a language other than English will be required to provide a ballot in that language. 

HB 21-1075 Replace The Term Illegal Alien – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1075, the term “illegal alien” was replaced with the term “worker without authorization” as it relates to public contracts for services.  

SB 21-027 Emergency Supplies for Colorado Babies and Families – Passed  
If enacted, the state government will allocate much-needed funding for nonprofit organizations to provide diapers and other childcare necessities to families in need, including Catholic Charities.  

SB 21-077 Remove Lawful Presence Verification Credentialing – Enacted    
With the enactment of SB 77, verification of lawful presence will no longer be required for any applicant for a license, certificate, or registration, particularly in the job fields of education and childcare.  

SB 21-146 Improve Prison Release Outcomes – Passed  
If enacted, SB 146 will establish practices that ease the transition back into society for formerly incarcerated persons.  

SB 21-158 Increase Medical Providers for Senior Citizens – Passed  
If enacted, SB 158 will allocate more funding for senior citizen care, which is currently understaffed and underfunded.  

Eight bills the CCC opposed that were passed 

HB 21-1072 Equal Access Services For Out-of-home Placements – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1072, Colorado law now prohibits organizations that receive state funding for placing children with adoptive or foster parents from discriminating on, among other things, the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or marital status. This new law will likely to be impacted by the imminent Fulton v. City of Philadelphia U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

HB 21-1108 Gender Identity Expression Anti-Discrimination – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1108, “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression” are now recognized as protected classes in Colorado nondiscrimination code. This may have serious religious liberty implications for individuals and organizations that wish to practice their well-founded convictions on marriage and human sexuality. 

SB21-006 Human Remains Natural Reduction Soil – Enacted 
With the enactment of SB 006, human remains can now be converted to soil using a container that accelerates the process of biological decomposition, also known as “natural reduction.” 

SB 21-009 Reproductive Health Care Program – Passed 
If enacted, SB 009 will create a taxpayer funded state program to increase access to contraceptives.  

SB 21-016 Protecting Preventive Health Care Coverage – Passed 
If enacted, the definition of “family planning services” and “family planning-related services” will not be clearly defined in law and could potentially include abortion. Furthermore, SB 16 removes the requirement that a provider obtain parental consent before providing family planning services to a minor.  

SB 21-025 Family Planning Services for Eligible Individuals– Passed 
If enacted, SB 025 low-income women to be given state-funded contraception, “preventing, delaying, or planning pregnancy” services, which includes cessation services and sterilization services.  

SB 21-142 Health Care Access in Cases of Rape or Incest– Enacted  
The enactment of SB 142 removes the requirement that, if public funds are being used, a physician must perform an abortion at a hospital, and instead allows for abortions to be performed by any “licensed provider.”   

SB21-193 Protection of Pregnant People in Perinatal Period– Passed 
If enacted, SB 193 will eliminate an important protection in Colorado law for a preborn and viable baby when a woman is on life support.  

Five bills the CCC supported that failed  

HB21-1017 Protect Human Life at Conception – Failed 
HB 1017 would have prohibited terminating the life of an unborn child and made it a violation a class 1 felony.  

HB 21-1080 Nonpublic Education and COVID-19 Relief Act – Failed 
HB 1080 would have established a private school and home-based education income tax credit for families who either enroll their child in private school or educate their child at home, thereby expanding education opportunities for families during and after the pandemic.  

HB 21-1183 Induced Termination of Pregnancy State Registrar – Failed 
HB 1183 would have required health-care providers that perform abortions to report specified information concerning the women who obtain the procedure to the state registrar of vital statistics, thereby increasing transparency in the abortion industry.   

HB 21-1191 Prohibit Discrimination COVID-19 Vaccine Status– Failed  
HB 1191 would have prevented individuals from being coerced to take the COVID-19 vaccine by either the state or by employers.  

HB 21-1210 Modifications to Qualified State Tuition Programs – Failed 
HB 1210 would have allowed families to use some of their private 529 savings account funds for private K-12 school tuition for their children, including at Catholic schools.   

One bill the CCC opposed that failed 

SB 21-031 Limits on Governmental Responses to Protests– Failed 
SB 031 would have made it more difficult for law enforcement to protect innocent lives when protests turn violent.  

Two bills the CCC was in an “Amend” position that passed  

SB 21-073 Civil Action Statute of Limitations Sexual Assault – Enacted  
With the enactment of SB 073, the statute of limitations on bringing a civil claim based on sexual misconduct will be removed as of January 1, 2022. Under this law, victims of sexual abuse can pursue a civil cause of action if the statute of limitations has not expired, the abuse happened in Colorado, and the abuse could be considered a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor if it was a criminal case. 

SB 21-088 Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act– Passed  
If enacted, SB 88 will allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue public and private institutions for abuse that occurred between 1960-2022. Victims would have three years to bring a historical claim, starting from January 1, 2022. Claims brought during this window would be capped at $387,000 for public institutions and at $500,000 for private institutions, with the ability of a judge to double the damages depending on how the private institution handled the situation. Despite unanswered constitutional concerns regarding SB 88, the Colorado Catholic dioceses will also continue to offer opportunities for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to receive support in a non-litigious setting.   

While the legislature has adjourned the 2021 legislative session, there is still the possibility that they will reconvene later this year. To stay up-to-date on Colorado legislative issues and their impact on the Catholic Church in Colorado, be sure to sign up for the CCC legislative network HERE.