The World Meeting of Families

What is it?

1994 was declared the International Year of the Family.  Pope John Paul II wanted a Year of the Family to be celebrated in the Catholic Church, so the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) was organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.     The gathering promotes the pastoral care of families, protecting their rights and dignity in the Church and in civil society so that they may be better able to fulfill their duties.  The WMOF is the biggest gathering of Catholic families in the world and is normally held every three years in different places with different themes.      

1994 Rome, Italy – “The Family, the Heart of the Civilization of Love” 
1997 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – “The Family: Gift and Commitment, the hope of humanity” 
2000 Rome, Italy – “Children: Springtime of the Family and of the Church” 
2003 Manila, Philippines – “The Christian Family: Good News for the Third Millennium” 
2006 Valencia, Spain – “Handing on the Faith in the Family” 
2009 Mexico City, Mexico – “The Family: Teacher of Human and Christian Values” 
2012 Milan, Italy – “Family, Work & Celebration” 
2015 Philadelphia, United States – “Love is our Mission: The family fully alive” 
2018 Dublin, Ireland – “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World” 
2022 Rome, Italy – “Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness”    

The WMOF begins with an international Theological-Pastoral Congress and ends in the presence of the Pope, with a vigil and Festival of Families, along with a great final Eucharistic celebration.     

 In 2015, when the WMOF was held in Philadelphia, Pope Francis also celebrated Mass at Madison Square Garden.  Hundreds of people from the Diocese of Ogdensburg made a pilgrimage to attend either the Papal Mass in NY City, or to Philadelphia to participate in the conferences and Papal Mass there.       

How it is being done this year

The 10th World Meeting of Families was postponed one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The situation caused by this healthcare emergency has necessitated some changes in the way that the gathering is being conducted.      

“At past meetings”, explained the Pope in his video message, “most families stayed at home and the meeting was perceived as being something remote, at most followed on television, and unknown to the majority of families. This time it will have a special format: it will be an opportunity provided by Providence to create a worldwide event that can involve all the families that would like to feel part of the ecclesial community”.

The World Meeting will therefore be set up in two parallel ways.  Rome will remain the main location with the Festival of Families and the Theological-Pastoral Congress taking place from Wednesday to Saturday in the Paul VI Audience Hall.  The Pope will celebrate Mass on Saturday in St Peter’s Square.    

The main event, held in Rome, will be attended by delegates from Episcopal Conferences all around the world as well as representatives from international movements involved in pastoral care for families.  At the same time, each diocese is encouraged to participate virtually. The goal is that from June 22 to 26, 2022 the diocese will place families at the center of pastoral attention, offering activities and resources that reflect the theme of the WMOF, so that there is a “Family Week” in unity with families and diocese around the world.  

Suggested Activities

Theme: Family love: vocation and a path to holiness ▪ Celebrations: opening and closing of the Meeting, Eucharistic Adoration, Holy Mass. ▪ Contributions: conferences, testimonies, sharing, celebration.


  • The Pastoral Kit to prepare for the WMOF
  • Animation and Logo
  • WMOF Catechesis (pdf format)
  • WMOF Prayer 
  • WMOF Hymn Score
  • Meditation by Fr. Rupnik