The World Meeting of Families Official Icon
Each World Meeting of Families (WMOF) has an iconic image that focuses on Jesus as the center of the family. The image inspires thoughts and emotions in relation to God and family.
This year’s image was painted by artist Neilson Carlin, who was born a protestant but converted to Catholicism after being drawn to its religious art. Since his conversion, Carlin has devoted his God-given artistic talent to serving the Church by concentrating on sacred artwork. Bishop McIntyre, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, sought Carlin for his “Baroque sense of light and weight” to carry out the task of producing an image for the WMOF. Nine months after being commissioned, Carlin unveiled his masterpiece in September 2014 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. He was motivated by the magnitude of the work, being something that Pope Francis and the rest of the Church would see, and he hoped the image would draw all people closer to God.
The child Jesus stands in the front of the image with the Blessed Virgin next to Him. Each figure is layered in the image according to the closeness of his or her relationship to Christ. Saint Joseph stands behind Jesus, laying his protective hand on Mary’s shoulder. Saints Ann and Joachim look at Jesus from the background. Jesus offers a blessing with His right hand, which is at the very center of the painting. The architecture of the image resembles that of the baldacchino in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. In the upper right corner is the coat-of-arms of Pope Francis, and in the upper left corner is the coat-of-arms of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.