Pope Francis confirms date and theme for World Meeting of Families

Print Friendly

Pope Francis confirms date and theme for Ireland’s

World Meeting of Families

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Pope Francis has decided that the World Meeting of Families will be held in Dublin on 22 to 26 August 2018, with the theme “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.

 

The announcement of the date and theme for the 9th World Meeting of Families (WMF) was made at a press conference in the Vatican this morning, attended by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, and the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Pagila. The Archdiocese of Dublin is the host diocese for this event which takes place once every three years in different parts of the world.

 

Addressing today’s press conference Archbishop Martin said, “The 2018 World Meeting will be held in Dublin, but it is an event of the entire Church” (see full text below).

 

Archbishop Martin said it was significant that Pope Francis chose the family as the theme of the first Synod of Bishops of his Pontificate and that he launched a new methodology for the Synod which would involve consultation with families.  “Hopefully the World Meeting will be an important milestone in the application of the fruits of the Synodal process and of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Letitia”, he said.

                       

The Dublin Meeting will be prepared for by a process of catechesis – based on Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) which was published last month – and this will take place right across the Church in Ireland during 2017 and 2018.  It is hoped that something of that catechetical process will be shared with other Churches around the world, especially in Europe.  Archbishop Martin said the Dublin World Meeting of Families, more than earlier Meetings, should be a world event even in its preparation.

 

“The World Meeting of Families in Dublin will hopefully be a festival of witness to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.  The vocation of Christian couples, supported by the Sacrament of Marriage, is a call to witness to that love and to experience the joy of bringing the love of Jesus to those who are troubled and challenged,” said Archbishop Martin.  

 

It is too early to know if Pope Francis will attend the WMOF.  His programme is normally announced just a few months prior to any event.  The Pope has expressed his desire to attend, and such a visit of the Pope would bring great joy to Irish Catholics and others.  But the final decision will depend on many factors. 

 

Given the age of Pope Francis, a possible visit of the Pope in 2018 would inevitably have a more restricted programme than that of the Papal Visit of Pope Saint John Paul II in 1979. 

 ENDS

 

Background material for the World Meeting of Families Dublin 2018

See links:

www.catholicnews.ie – new ‘news’ source of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference

www.catholicnews.ie/pope-francis-confirms-date-and-theme-for-irelands-world-meeting-of-families/

 What is the World Meeting of Families?

In 1994 Pope Saint John Paul II asked the Pontifical Council for the Family to establish the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) as an international event of prayer, catechesis, and celebration that draws participants from around the globe.  Held at three year intervals, the WMOF seeks to strengthen the bonds between families and to witness to the crucial importance of marriage and the family to all of society.  It fosters the process of accompaniment of families in their mission.  It also fosters gestures of solidarity for families in difficulties.

 

Where is the World Meeting of Families held?

The World Meeting of Families was first celebrated in Rome in 1994. Since then Meetings have been hosted in Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); Philadelphia (2015); and now Dublin (2018).  The principal events of the World Meeting of Families 2018 will be held in Dublin but events will also take place in other centres around Ireland.

 

When will the Dublin WMOF be held and what will be the theme?

Pope Francis has decided that the Dublin WMOF will be held from 22 to 26 August 2018, and has chosen the theme: “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.”

 

The theme aims to take up the inspiration of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia on The Joy of Love, which was the fruit of a Synodal Process taking place in the Church since shortly after Pope Francis’ election.

 

Why is the theme of the family central to the ministry of Pope Francis?

Shortly after his election, Pope Francis began a process of reflection within the Church right across the world on the family.  He announced the holding of two sessions of the Synod of Bishops: one on the situation of families across the world and the other on how to respond to the challenges facing family life.  Pope Francis recently published a wide ranging document as a fruit of that process, entitled Amoris Laetitia, on love in the family.  

 

The following are some quotes of Pope Francis on the central place of the family for the Church and for society:

 

The welfare of the family is decisive for the future of the world and that of the Church.

The experience of love in families is a perennial source of strength for the life of the Church.

The family is like a factory of hope.

God likes most to knock on the doors of families and to find families that are united, that love each other and who raise their children in view of creating a society of truth, goodness and beauty.

 

How will the WMOF be celebrated?

The actual Meeting will begin with a major Conference which will last for three days at which international speakers will address the challenges of the family.  Married couples will witness to the contribution of the family to the Church and to society.  Each day will open with a major talk followed by break-out groups on a wide range of theological, spiritual, social and scientific questions on the place of the family in today’s word, and will conclude with Mass.  On the evening of Saturday 25 August a larger function of testimonies will be held to celebrate the place of the family in the Church.  A final Mass will conclude the Meeting on the early afternoon of Sunday 26 August.

 

Will Pope Francis attend the WMOF?

It is too early to know if Pope Francis will attend the WMOF.  His programme is normally announced just a few months prior to any event.  The Pope has expressed his desire to attend and such a visit of the Pope would bring great joy to Irish Catholics and others.  But the final decision will depend on many other factors.  Given the age of Pope Francis, a possible visit of the Pope in 2018 would inevitably have a more restricted programme than that of the papal visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979.

 

Who will organise the World Meeting of Families 2018?

The World Meeting of Families will be organized jointly by the Pontifical Council for the Family and by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, as bishop of the host diocese.  The planning will involve teams of women and men, clergy, religious and lay, from all over Ireland.   A Committee of the Irish Bishops’ Conference has been set up to oversee fundraising for the event.

 

In preparation for the meeting a programme of pastoral preparation centered on the family will take place across Ireland, especially during 2017.  It hoped that alongside the events gestures of solidarity will be fostered, such as for example a Pope Francis Fund for Homelessness.

 

Press Conference for the Presentation of the IX World Meeting of Families,

Dublin 2018

Statement of Most Rev Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin

 As Archbishop Paglia noted, the World Meeting of Families which will be held in Dublin from 22 to 26 August 2016 belongs intimately within an ecclesial process which had been initiated by Pope Francis almost immediately after his election.  It is significant that Pope Francis chose the family as the theme of the first Synod of Bishops of his Pontificate and that he launched a new methodology for the Synod which would involve consultation with families.  That process is on-going.

 

It is interesting that Saint Pope John Paul II also chose as the theme of his first Synod (1980) that of the Mission of the Family in the Contemporary World.  At the recent Synod I had to consider myself as a veteran having been one of the very few who attended, in different capacities, the Synod of 1980 and those of 2014 and 2015.

 

The choice of Dublin for the IX World Meeting of Families was announced in Philadelphia last September.  Not long afterwards I came to Rome for the 2015 Synod and as I was entering the Synod Hall on the first morning Pope Francis said to me:  “Remember, Dublin begins today”.

 

In Pope Francis’ mind, the IX World Meeting of Families in Dublin is not an isolated event.  It belongs within a process of discernment and encouragement, of accompaniment and animation of families.  It belongs within a programme of renewal of the Church’s pastoral concern and pastoral care for the family and for families.    The 2018 World Meeting will be held in Dublin, but it is an event of the entire Church.  Hopefully it will be an important milestone in the application of the fruits of the Synodal process and of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Letitia

 

The Meeting will be a significant event for the Church in Ireland and for Irish families.  Ireland – despite what many think – has a strong family culture.  It is a young country.  The proportion of the population under 15 years of age is 21.6% and those over 60 is 16.9%, as compared for example with Italy there are twice as many people over 60 than under 15.   Ireland has a much higher marriage rate than Italy and a much lower incidence of divorce.  The fertility index in Ireland is 2 whereas in Italy it is 1.4, well below replacement level.

 

That said, Ireland is a very open country and is open to all the pressures of Western secular culture regarding marriage and the family.  The theme chosen for the World Meeting of Families thus wishes to stress the role of the family within society and the contribution of families to the overall health and stability of society.

 

There are indeed many families in Ireland who struggle a precarious economic situations.   There is a housing crisis.  The Church’s catechetical programmes regarding marriage and the family need a complete overhaul in line with what Amoris Laetitia sets out.

 

The Dublin Meeting, thus, will be prepared for by a process of catechesis – based on the Apostolic Exhortation – which will take place right across the Church in Ireland during 2017.  It is hoped that something of that catechetical process will be shared with other Churches around the World, especially in Europe where we share many of the same challenges.  The Dublin World Meeting of Families, more than earlier Meetings, should be a world event even in its preparation.

 

The family is not just the object of the attention of the Church.  The Synods of Bishops stressed the vital role of families as real protagonists of renewal and of the transmission of the faith to the coming generations.  Families do this through being active participants in the ministry of the Church.  They do it above all though the authenticity of their daily life in the family and in the home.  Spouses witness to God’s tender love through their own mutual love and through the care and formation of their children.  The World Meeting of Families must be an occasion to encourage and sustain families in this task.

 

It is not easy to be a parent in today’s world.  Pope Francis’s recent Apostolic Exhortation contains much that can inspire and accompany parents.  Amoris Laetitia contains much beautiful advice on the education of children.   In the face of the many challenges of a changing culture of marriage and the family, the Church is called to accompany families in a new way and to enable families to experience more profoundly the joy of living the Gospel of the family. 

 

It is also vital that Church and society commit themselves to enabling families to experience that joy more fully through appropriate political, social and economic measures which support families and help remove burdens which families face.

 

The World Meeting of Families in Dublin will hopefully be a festival of witness to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.  The vocation of Christian couples, supported by the Sacrament of Marriage, is a call to witness to that love and to experience the joy of bringing the love of Jesus to those who are troubled and challenged.   

 

Share it with the world...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on Reddit