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The World Meeting of Families 2018

The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World

World meeting of families logo 2018The World Meeting of Families will take place in 2018 in Dublin in August. Held every three years, the World Meeting of Families is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families and is a celebration of family life and of the Catholic Church’s commitment to support families.

Pope Francis has chosen The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World as the theme for the ninth World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Dublin on 22 – 26 August 2018.

Pope Francis, will arrive in Dublin on Saturday, 25 August, and will take part in the ‘Festival of Families’ in Croke Park.  The Festival of Families is the faith-based cultural concert of the World Meeting of Families six-day programme.  The next day, Sunday 26 August, Pope Francis will be the chief celebrant at Holy Mass in the Phoenix Park and this liturgy will bring to a conclusion the World Meeting of Families 2018.

Archbishop Eamon Martin said, “It is my hope that families in every parish in the country will be able to participate in the preparation for the World Meeting, and that many families will take part in the various events being planned for late summer 2018. The World Meeting provides the perfect context for us to rediscover the vocation and mission of the family in the life of the Church and in Irish society.

Supporting families is one of the most important aspects of the mission of the Church. As a priest and bishop I have come to know and admire the wonderful work of many individuals and groups who are involved in family support and ministry here in Ireland. The World Meeting provides an opportunity to affirm their work and to inspire new initiatives to sustain the family as a source of joy, hope and cohesion in the Church and in society.

Family together smilingOf course, as Pope Francis reminds us often, no family is perfect and every family has its struggles and wounds. The World Meeting of Families in Dublin will be a success if it helps us to celebrate and support family life whilst encouraging us to reach out in love to families who are overwhelmed by the challenges and pressures of everyday living.”

The World Meeting of Families during August 2018 will consist of catechesis, liturgies, and gestures of solidarity, exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances around the city.  At its heart it will have the following four key elements:

  1. A National Opening of World Meeting of Families on 21 August will take place simultaneously in each of the 26 dioceses on the island of Ireland;
  2. From 22 to 24 August, a three-day Pastoral Congress will be hosted in the RDS and this will include a joyful and reflective programme of workshops, talks and discussions centered on the WMOF theme.  This Congress will also offer an engaging programme which includes faith and fun activities for young people and children;
  3. A Festival of Families will be held in Croke Park on Saturday 25 August at which Pope Francis will attend. This will involve a cultural concert within a prayerful and joyful atmosphere to include personal stories of faith to be shared by families representing the five continents; and,
  4. On Sunday 26 August Holy Mass for WMOF2018 will be celebrated by Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park involving hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from Ireland and from around the world.

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.


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