In September, Miss Cintorino was able to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, which was inaugurated by Pope St. John Paul II in 1992 to discover ways to strengthen and defend the importance of the family. Families from all over the world are invited to attend the week-long Congress and listen to distinguished speakers talk on a variety of topics concerning the family.
The topics ranged from speaking on the role of the family in society, the family as the domestic Church, the family and the new evangelization, the importance of grandparents, immigration laws and their effects on the family, and the challenges the family faces in the modern world. Several of the keynote speakers included: Bishop Robert Barron, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Scott Hahn, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, and Professor Helen Alvare. Miss Cintorino reports:
“In between the talks at the conferences, I was able to take advantage of the special events which the archdiocese of Philadelphia offered during the week. Some of these included the veneration of the relics of St. Gianna Molla, Saint John Paul II, St. Therese, and her parents, the Blesseds Zelie and Louis Martin , at the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, and the veneration of the body of Saint Mary Goretti at the Saint Rita National Shrine. During the week I was also able to serve with Catholic Relief Services in packaging food to distribute in Africa.
I also attended a pro-life conference hosted by Father Frank Provone where I met Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King. Another blessing was meeting the daughter whom Saint Gianna Molla saved and being able to hear Molla speak of Saint Gianna and her decision to save her child.
On Saturday, I attended the Festival of the Families, a music festival hosted by the World Meeting of Families. Artists from around the world who support and recognize the importance of the family were invited to perform. Some of the more distinguished artists included: Andrea Bocelli, Sister Sledge, the Fray, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Of course the highlight of the evening was seeing Pope Francis again. After his arrival, the concert continued with music, readings from Scripture, and presentations prepared by several families from all over the world who spoke of the challenges which the family faced in their own lives, and also in their countries. At the end of the evening, Pope Francis spoke to the crowd of the beauty and love that is found in the family, reminding the world that the family is blessed because God chose to enter into a family.
On Sunday, I was blessed to have been able to obtain a coveted ticket to the reserved seating area, so I was able to be only a few feet from the main stage where Mass was celebrated. During the homily, the Pope once again stressed the importance of family values and spoke of the family as a domestic church and of the practical ways in which Faith and charity are strengthened in the home.