Philadelphia will play host to the largest World Meeting of Families [WMOF] conference to date this September.
The number of attendees "just hit 17,000" Donna Farrell, executive director of the WMOF, told a room full of journalists Friday at the Religion Newswriters Association Conference in Center City. When Milan hosted the WMOF three years ago, 7,000 people attended.
"And for those of you who've been covering us here in Philadelphia, you know, we needed this," Farrell said, adding the "World Meeting of Families by the numbers is pretty stunning."
-- People are coming from more than 100 countries
-- Every continent except Antarctica is represented
-- More than 10,000 volunteers are committed
Farrell expects the four-day event, held from Sept. 22 - 25 in the Pennsylvania Convention Center "to be something really magical."
When Pope Francis arrives that weekend, Philly will essentially host "an incredible block party of joy, pilgrimage and excitement," Farrell said.