Everett family of South Bend attending World Meeting of Families


Fred and Lisa Everett and their 13-year-old daughter traveled from Michiana to Philadelphia to participate in the World Meeting of Families. Their family has a lot riding on the message Pope Francis delivers.

The Everetts help Catholic families in South Bend.

"We've been working together for 27 years and we're still married," said Fred Everett.

The Everetts have been working together for nearly three decades-- almost their entire marriage.

"We've learned a lot along the way. We've been working for the church along with raising our 7 children so we've learned a lot about the beauty of what the church teaches," said Lisa.

Fred and Lisa co-direct the Office of Family Life in South Bend for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

"Everything from preparing couples for marriage, offering parenting information, I also teach natural family planning and we are also responsible for human sexuality in schools and also pro-life activities," said Lisa.

So it's only natural they're joining millions of others in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

"This is the first time that it's in the US so as soon as we knew that, we knew we would be there with a group from our Diocese. So we will be leading a group of 15 families in addition to others who are going both on their well, both for Congress as well as just to see the people in the last couple of days," Fred said.

The Everetts have been planning this trip for several years. They decided to invite their 13 year old daughter to experience this once in a life time opportunity.

"She was very excited that she just turned 13 so she makes the cut for the teen congress as opposed to being with the younger kids. They have things like bowling with bishops and swinging with sisters and a dance party with religious sisters," said Lisa.

They will listen to various speakers and attend seminars in the hopes of bringing back new information and refreshing messages to share with local families in Michiana.

"What you end up doing, what Lisa alluded to, they're going to take what they've learned and what they hear and what the pope says to all of us, into their entire ministry and I think that's exactly what we do in a parish as well. We incorporate that as best we can," said Father Daryl Rybicki.

"Why do you think people right here in Michiana should care about this," Colleen Bormann said.

"I think anytime someone brings the message of hope, the potential to work closely together in unity, I think we see in our culture a lot of polarization, a lot of negative sentiments being expressed, people being bashed left and right. I think someone who says let's try to work together, let's put our pre-conceived notions aside and let's see how we can become a closer human family and really try to deal with the difficult challenges that our world faces today," said Fred.

Exactly what the Everetts are trying to do.

"So the question is, how can this really make a difference?" Fred said.

For the families they serve.

"We're all on a journey where we need each other's help. That would be one of the most important messages that we can take as a community from Pope Francis," Fred said.

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