PHILADELPHIA 2015, THE NEXT WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES

Vatican City, 3 June 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, after having celebrated Mass in the presence of almost one million faithful at Bresso Park in Milan and before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father announced that the eighth World Meeting of Families will be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A. in the year 2015. "I send my warm greetings to Archbishop Charles Chaput", he said, "and to the Catholics of that great city, and look forward to meeting them there along with numerous families from all around the world".

Before bidding farewell to the participants in the seventh World Meeting of Families, Benedict XVI expressed his thanks to Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and to Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, as well as to all the organisers and volunteers.

The Pope then went on the greet pilgrims in various languages. Speaking French, he spoke of his joy at today's beatification in the French diocese of Besancon of Fr. Jean-Joseph Lataste of the Order of Friars Preachers, whom he described as an "apostle of mercy" and "apostle of prisons".

"Dear families of Milan, Lombardy, Italy and the whole world, I greet you all with affection and thank you for your participation", the Holy Father concluded. "I encourage you to show solidarity towards families experiencing the greatest difficulties. I am thinking of the economic and social crisis, I am thinking of the recent earthquake in Emilia. May the Virgin Mary always accompany and support you".