World Meeting of Families calls for host families near Philly
Organizers for the World Meeting of Families have asked people to open their homes to host attendees and other visitors for the event, which will mark Pope Francis’ first visit to the U.S, reports Catholic News Agency.
“The excitement for the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis' visit cannot be overstated,” Donna Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families-Philadelphia 2015, said Dec. 3.
She said there has been a “tremendously positive” response to the opening of registration for the event and to the announcement of the papal visit.
She added: “we will need every housing option available.”
The Philadelphia World Meeting of Families will take place Sept. 22-27, 2015. It is a global Catholic event which seeks to support and strengthen families. St. John Paul II founded the event in 1994, and it takes place every three years.
More than 10,000 delegates from 150 countries are expected to attend the Congress of the World Meeting of Families at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Pope Francis’ visit from Sept. 26-27 could draw over two million people.
Organizers are asking residents from the Philadelphia metro region, including south New Jersey, Delaware and the Lehigh Valley, to host a family. Information about hosting is available at the World Meeting of Families website www.WorldMeeting2015.org under the “Get Involved” section.
The event has partnered with the Ireland-based travel company Homestay.com, which helps resolve housing shortages during large-scale local events. Through the World Meeting of Families website, hosts can register a guest bedroom, a furnished apartment or a vacation house within a 120-mile radius of Philadelphia’s Center City region.
Visiting individuals and families can then search a secure database of registered housing to find a match.
Visitors will pay a nightly fee to host families that can be used to offset costs or returned to the visitors, as the host family sees fit.
Farrell said the partnership with HomeStay.com provides “a terrific, cost-effective housing option.”
“We often pride ourselves on the brotherly love and sisterly affection that defines our region,” she said, adding that hosting a family is “an excellent way to show exactly that.”
Alan Clarke, CEO of Homestay.com, said that the family hosting program can encourage community and promote family while enriching the cultural experience of World Meeting of Families attendees.