Hi! I'm Kevin Birnbaum, assistant editor of Northwest Catholic, and I'll be traveling to Philadelphia on Monday morning with 15 other pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Seattle to attend the World Meeting of Families. We'll be joined by 31 more Western Washingtonians for Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia Sept. 26-27!
When people hear that I'm covering the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis' visit, they generally ask three questions:
1. Is that the same thing as the Synod on the Family? No. As far as I can tell, the World Meeting of Families is like a big conference/pep rally for families. The Synod on the Family, which is next month in Rome, is more like a three-week meeting for bishops where they'll discuss "the vocation and mission of the family in the church and in the contemporary world." I wrote a preview of the synod for the October edition of Northwest Catholic, which you can read here.
2. Will you get to meet the pope? Almost certainly not, but with Pope Francis, you never know what might happen!
3. Are you excited? Yes!
The only non-exciting (and rather ironic) thing about the trip is that, in order to go to the World Meeting of Families, I have to spend the next eight days away from my own family: my wife of seven years, Jeanette, and our two sons, Leo, 3, and James, 7 months. That's us earlier today at the Washington State Fair (I'm on the left).