PHILADELPHIA – From September 22 to the 25, Philadelphia was host to the eighth World Meeting of Families (WMOF). Families came from all over the world to celebrate the weeklong international event arranged by the Pontifical Council for the Family. Metropolitan Stefan Soroka and the Rev. Taras Lonchyna took part in the opening mass on September 22.
The finale for the meetings took place on the weekend of September 26-27, during which Pope Francis finished his first visit to the United States, with stopovers in Washington, New York and the City of Brotherly Love.
On Saturday, September 26, the pontiff celebrated Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul and spoke at Independence National Historical Park. Prior to Pope Francis’s speech, Philadelphia’s own Yuliya Stupin began the day’s events with the American national anthem and two songs about Ukrainian independence.
On Sunday, September 27, Pope Francis celebrated mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with close to 800,000 faithful. Among the crowd, Ukrainians proudly displayed their heritage by wearing Ukrainian embroidered shirts and waving the country’s flag. Members of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization arrived in their scouting uniforms for Sunday’s event.
From the first blessing to the final procession, the WMOF in Philadelphia followed by the papal visit left a lasting impression among all participants.