This Saturday, a special conference marking the Catholic Church’s celebration of family and family life will take place in Dublin. Guest speakers will include the co-chairs of the Council for Marriage and the Family of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin who, along with over 600 delegates, will participate in a special event to formally launch preparations for the World Meeting of Families 2018 due to take place in Dublin.
Saturday’s conference is entitled “The Joy of Love, Amoris Laetitia and the World Meeting of Families in Ireland” and will include over 600 representatives from Irish dioceses and parishes, and from abroad, as well as more than twenty organisations whose mission is to support the sacrament of marriage and offer pastoral outreach to families.
Drawing on key themes from Amoris Laetitia, the recent apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, the conference will offer strong personal reflections on the joys and challenges of family life today, including on the experience of being a refugee family from Syria, of homeless in Ireland and of the impact on families of various forms of addiction. The event will also include prayer, audience interaction, video testimony, drama, music and singing.
This conference also marks the start of the formal preparations for the 9th World Meeting of Families in Ireland, an international pastoral event which will take place in Dublin from 22 to 26 August 2018.
Pope Francis has asked for the 2018 World Meeting of Families to take place in Dublin with the theme “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is the President and host, and Father Timothy Bartlett is its Secretary General.
The World Meeting of Families takes place every three years, and is coordinated by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. Established by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1992 as a pastoral initiative, its aim is to strengthen the sacred bonds of the family unit across the globe. The first World Meeting of Families took place in Rome in 1994, the International Year of the Family. Every three years since 1994, families from all over the world are invited by the Holy Father to attend this global gathering. During a World Meeting, families come together to share experiences, to dialogue, to pray and work together to grow as individuals and as family units. Delegates participate in discussion groups on the role of the Christian family in the Church and society, and are addressed by distinguished speakers. The eighth and most recent World Meeting took place in Philadelphia in September 2015.
Saturday’s conference will be held in DCU Saint Patrick’s Drumcondra Campus in Dublin and elements of the day long event will be streamed on Facebook Live on https://www.facebook.com/IrishCatholicBishops.