Just over two years ago, Pope Francis made a much anticipated Apostolic Visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families. Two years on, some of the stories of those involved in the WMOF2018 have been captured in a new book which was launched virtually on Friday.
The Veritas publication entitled “Humans of the World Meeting of Families” is drawn from the ‘Humans of New York’ series which sees a photographer capturing the ordinary everyday lives of the people in the city.
This new publication edited by Brenda Drumm is a collection of first-person testimonies from some of those involved in the August 2018 events. They include lay and religious, young and old – who reflect upon their own faith journey and their family life both past and present.
Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin, launched the book on Friday and is also one of those who feature in it. Speaking to Vatican Radio he recalls that the project actually began in 2017 as a Facebook page, which, he says “took on a life of its own”.
This book, he points out, is not about very important people, it is about ordinary families and the “joys and sorrows of family life.”
There are a number of testimonies from this book that “jumped out at me”, he says.
One, in particular, is that of Declan and Sarah O’Brien who say in the book that “no marriage or family is perfect. We’ve had our times of struggle and suffering. In the darkest moments of our marriage what helped us to keep on loving each other was having a relationship with Jesus, crucified and forsaken.” They were, the Bishop adds, delighted to be involved in the World Meeting of Families.
Legacy of Apostolic Visit
The theme of the 2018 World Meeting of Families was centered on the joy of family life. The importance of the joy of family life is crucial, says Bishop Nulty. As a Church, the Bishop emphasizes, we can provide that joy in different ways.
One of the ways in which that is being done says the Bishop is in the form of marriage preparation, helping couples to “live the sacrament and be accompanied more in their parish; that is a legacy.”
Another legacy of the Pope’s visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, Bishop Nulty stresses, is “an awareness of the new families coming amongst us; the refugees, the migrants, those who need a welcome, that we give them the joy of family life.”
“I think also there is a legacy in the sense of prayer,” he says. Bishop Nulty also highlights the importance of family moments and the valuable role grandparents have in the family.
“The role of grandparents is something which has been rekindled and nourished through the World Meeting of Families; their special role as people of faith, handing on the faith to the next generation. That will stay with us for a long time to come.”
Virtual book launch on Zoom
Bishop Nulty launched the book on Culture Night – Friday 18 September – on Zoom. Speaking at the virtual launch Bishop Nulty said the Humans book is about ordinary families and the “joys and sorrows of family life”.
He said, “It includes 73 testimonies including six couples, two families, two religious sisters, nine priests, an archbishop and a bishop. Many were volunteers or worked as part of the planning team for the WMOF, while others were diocesan delegates or were involved with music or entertainment.
“This is a very honest book on family. It’s not pious or devotional; it’s not artificial or canned. It’s rooted, it’s grounded in the joys and sorrows of family life. I think of the theme of the WMOF – the joy of family life – this timely publication brings out the joys but isn’t blind to the shadows, the shades of family life either.”
The launch of the book included some of those featured in it, as well as Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Ovolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, who shared his memories of WMOF2018 and also spoke about how Pope Francis is doing now.
The book is available now from book shops and from www.veritas.ie.