Pope Francis confirms date and theme for Ireland’s World Meeting of Families
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.