Red and blue lights of plenty of security cars and police motorcycles shinned on the streets of Philadelphia, as the Pope made his way to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to meet with thousands of families.
He was first welcomed by Philadelphia's Orchestra, which had been practicing for months for this very moment.
Hollywood actor, Mark Walhberg was the MC, who introduced both performers and families who shared their personal testimonies.
From this engaged Australian couple who is worried about the country's high divorce rate, to this Nigerian woman who suffered miscarriages and struggled to start a family. Also a Christian family from the Middle East, where religious persecution is seen all too often.
The Pope left his prepared speech aside, an spoke off the cuff, about why strong families lead to strong societies. As he spoke in Spanish, his interpreter translated his words to English.
"God plans so that our hearts be open,. He likes to open hearts. It comes from Him. But you know what He likes most. To knock on the doors of families and to find families who love each other. Families who bring up their children to grow and help them move forward.”
The Pope recognized that even though the family is based on love, hope and trust, there are also challenging moments that cannot be overlooked. Even challenges, he said, can be an opportunity to grow closer to God.
"Some of you might say of course, ‘Father you speak like that because you’re not married.’ Families have difficulties. Families quarrel. Sometimes plates can fly. Children bring headaches. I won’t speak about mother in laws. But in families, there is always a cross-always.”
The Pope reminded the crowd that families are like factories of hope. A hope that leads families to open their hearts.
To end the massive gathering, Italian singer Andrea Bocelli performed for the Pope and the big crowd. Afterwards, Colombian singer, Juanes also performed for the World Meeting of Families.