National Family Pilgrimage off to Philadelphia

Yili and Salome Li, Ron Pirola, Bishop Kennedy, Bradley and Natalie Wilkinson with their children Hannah, Joel, Jemima and Eve.

Yili and Salome Li, Ron Pirola, Bishop Kennedy, Bradley and Natalie Wilkinson with their children Hannah, Joel, Jemima and Eve.

Bishop Michael Kennedy departs with representatives from many Australian dioceses today to join with 150 other nations at the World Meeting of Families in America later this month.

The World Meeting of Families will take place at Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from 22-25 September 2015.

Pope Francis will attend the gathering that centres on the theme, ‘Love is our mission: The family fully alive’.

Twenty one adults and 23 children, aged between three years and 14 years, will travel on the official Australian pilgrimage led by the Bishop Delegate for Marriage and Family, Michael Kennedy, along with Dr Ron and Mrs Mavis Pirola, Co-Chair Couple of the The Australian Catholic Marriage & Family Council (ACMFC).

Bishop Kennedy with  Thomas and Tina Coorey and their children Samuel, Luke, Christian and Gabrielle.

Bishop Kennedy with Thomas and Tina Coorey and their children Samuel, Luke, Christian and Gabrielle.

‘I am looking forward to journeying with the Australian pilgrim group. This gathering will be focused on faith formation and fellowship among the families. It will provide a unique opportunity to identify and discuss the strengths and challenges of family life in today’s society,’ Bishop Kennedy said.

‘I will be tweeting about our experiences throughout the pilgrimage,’ he added. Bishop Kennedy’s Twitter handle is: @BishopMKennedy.

The group will travel from Sydney to Washington before arriving in Philadelphia where they will be joined by Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP and Emeritus Archbishop of Perth, Barry Hickey.

Matthew & Catherine Bourke with their four children; Michael, Joel, Trinity and Sebastian.

Matthew & Catherine Bourke with their four children; Michael, Joel, Trinity and Sebastian.

Representing the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference are delegates from the Diocese of Darwin, Matt and Cathy Bourke along with their four children, Michael, Joel, Trinity and Sebastian.

The 8th World Meeting of Families will include daily Mass, devotions, workshops, keynote addresses and multiple breakout sessions. The program will start with a three-day international pastoral and theological congress. This will have a program for children and youth. This international gathering is co-convened by the Pontifical Council for the Family and the host diocese.

The ACMFC is encouraging Australian parishioners to be in solidarity with the gathering through their prayers and by following the Catechesis at home or in your local parish.

Ron and Mavis Pirola said, ‘we are particularly enthusiastic about this 8th gathering because the preparatory catechesis is written in relatable, practical language. This augurs well for the talks that will take place at the preliminary Congress’.

Updates from the gathering available at: https://www.catholic.org.au/wmf/blog

Australian Pilgrimage of Diocesan Delegates to World Meeting of Families:

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Delegates

Matthew & Catherine Bourke from the Diocese of Darwin with their four children; Michael, Joel, Trinity and Sebastian

Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn

Shawn & Branka van der Linden

Archdiocese of Sydney

Gavin & Elizabeth Duane with children Zachary and Noah

Yili & Salome Li

Thomas & Tina Coorey with children Samuel, Luke, Christian and Gabrielle

Diocese of Broken Bay

David & Kylie Ball with children Clayton, Brooklyn and twins Fraser and Makenzie

Diocese of Parramatta

Bradley & Natalie Wilkinson with children Hannah, Joel, Tobias, Jemima and Eve

James & Julie-Ann McLoughlin with children Annabelle, Patrick, Alexander and John

A number of other Australian couples are travelling separately to this pilgrimage.