By Fred and Lisa Everett
As we have reported previously, World Meeting of Families events will be taking place in downtown Philadelphia, Sept. 22-27. Phase 1 begins mid-day Tuesday, Sept. 22, and will feature the Theological Congress that ends mid-day Friday, Sept. 25. The congress will include tracks for both adults and children (ages 6-17). Childcare also will be available on-site for children under age 6. Phase 2 will feature Pope Francis at a Saturday afternoon festival for families and will end with a Mass celebrated in downtown Philadelphia on Sunday, the 27th.
The diocese now has announcements regarding Phase 1 accommodations and congress scholarships.
• Beginning on Jan. 15, the diocese will begin online reservations for the downtown Philadelphia Courtyard Marriott. The Courtyard is a three-minute walk from the congress convention center. Rooms have been reserved for clergy, married couples and families consisting of at least one parent and one child. The cost of a room per night will be $275, which includes taxes and room fees. Check-in at the hotel will be Monday, Sept. 21, and registrants can choose either four or five nights as their length of stay in Phase 1. Online registration will be first come, first served and will require a non-refundable deposit of $275 that will cover the first night at the hotel. The reservation deadline for Phase 1 will be March 1, 2015.
• Those who have reservations during Phase 1 will be able to choose to stay for the events featuring Pope Francis on Sept. 26-27. Total room cost for Phase 2 at the Courtyard has not been published, but will likely be over $500 per night. We expect prices to be set in early 2015. If rooms are still available for those unable to attend the congress, they will be made available to any other individuals in the diocese who would be interested in reserving them.
• The diocese has also reserved rooms for Phase 2 at a Hampton Inn just off I-76 about 45 minutes from downtown Philadelphia. The total cost per night should be about $175 for a three-night stay beginning on Friday, Sept. 25. Married couples and families attending the congress during Phase 1 will have the option of staying at this hotel instead of remaining at the downtown Courtyard. If rooms are still available for those unable to attend the congress, they will be made available to any other individuals in the diocese who would be interested in reserving them.
• Due to the length of time in the fall for all the events and the diversity of groups going — families, married couples, young adults — the diocese will not be renting buses for those from our diocese participating in the 2015 World Meeting of Families. For many families, especially, going by car will be a more economical and convenient method of transportation.
• Finally, through a grant from Our Sunday Visitor, the diocese will be providing full scholarships that will cover the basic packages for both the adult and child tracks for those attending the Theological Congress. The scholarships for adults will be $125 and for children (ages 6-17), $95. Married couples and families who will be staying at the Courtyard will have first priority for these funds. Scholarships per family are not limited. So, for example, a family of two parents and two children would be eligible for $440 in scholarships. Couples or families will only need to produce their congress registration receipt and a form signed by their pastor that they are active members of the parish in order to be reimbursed for their registration. Again, this will be first come, first served. More registration information can be found at the World Meeting of Families website: www.worldmeeting2015.org.
• For more information about our diocesan plans, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].
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