September 11, 2015

Religious Education Supplement

Ten themes shape the message of the World Meeting of Families

All of the keynote addresses and breakout sessions at The World Meeting of Families that will take place on Sept. 22-25 in Philadelphia are guided by 10 themes that summarize the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life.

These themes are explored in Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive, a preparatory catechetical resource for the World Meeting of Families published by Our Sunday Visitor and available online at

The following is a summary of the 10 themes.

  • Created for Joy—God created humanity, not through an “accident of evolution,” but through his love and desire for us to share in his joy, especially through his Son, Jesus Christ.
  • The Mission of Love—God has given humanity the mission to receive his love, share it with others and help heal a world broken through sin.
  • The Meaning of Human Sexuality—Creation “reflects God’s glory.” This includes our bodies and the ability to share in his creative love through human sexuality.
  • Two Become One—God calls humanity to community. “Marriage is a uniquely intimate form of friendship” in which a man and woman “love each other in the manner of God’s covenant. … Married love is fruitful and offered without reservation. This love is in the image of Jesus’s faithfulness to the Church.”
  • Creating the Future—Married couples are called to be open to new life. “Children reared with love and guidance are the foundation for a loving future. … Families are the bedrock for all larger communities.”
  • All Love Bears Fruit—Families teach what it means to be human by instilling and being witnesses to “love, justice, compassion, forgiveness, mutual respect, patience and humility.”
  • Light in a Dark World—The family is a school of love, justice, compassion, forgiveness, mutual respect, patience and humility. In these ways, the family teaches what it means to be human. Thing such as poverty, affluence, pornography, contraception, philosophical and other intellectual mistakes can all create contexts that challenge or threaten healthy family life. The Church resists these things for the sake of protecting the family.
  • A Home for the Wounded Heart—Poverty, illness, same-sex attraction and unemployment are a few of the many situations that give people pain today. “Christian families and networks of families should be sources of mercy, safety, friendship and support for those struggling with” such issues.
  • Mother, Teacher, Family: The Nature and Role of the Church—The Church serves in this life as “our mother and teacher, our comforter and guide [and] our family of faith.”
  • Choosing Life—God’s love is “our life mission.” By embracing God’s mission, we will have a new perspective on many issues, not just family. “Our mission of love will require courage and fortitude. Jesus is calling, and we can respond, choosing lives of faith, hope, charity, joy, service and mission.”


Related story: World Meeting of Families’ pilgrims hope to share Church’s vision for family life

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