It is now only six months until the World Meeting of Families takes place in Dublin this August. A national Church collection will take place this weekend, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 February, to support this international celebration of the family.
Pope Francis chose Dublin to host the next World Meeting of Families from 21-26 August 2018. The 2018 theme is ‘The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World’. Held every three years, this major international event brings together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect upon the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church.
The main events of WMOF2018 will take place in Dublin but related events, including the hosting of international groups, will take place all over the island of Ireland.
The following key moments make up WMOF2018:
- A National Opening on Tuesday 21 August which will take place simultaneously in each of the dioceses of Ireland;
- A three day congress from 22-24 August in the RDS, Dublin;
- A Festival of Families on Saturday 25 August, comprising a reflective concert style event within a prayerful and joyful atmosphere, in which personal stories of faith will be shared by families from all continents;
- A Closing Mass will be celebrated on Sunday 26 August with thousands of people from Ireland and across the world.
Registration for all WMOF2018 events, as well as accommodation during the celebration, is now open and can be done through www.worldmeeting2018.ie.
Brenda Drumm, Media and Communications Manager, spoke to CatholicNews.ie about the ongoing preparations for WMOF2018. She said, ‘We are really encouraged by the numbers of families from overseas who have decided they want to be with us for the World Meeting of Families in August. We have just passed the 5,000th registration mark and when we look at the profile of those registered we can see a number of interesting things. It is clear from the registrations that we have people coming to Ireland for the WMOF2018 from 64 countries so this will truly be a WORLD gathering. We will have families and individual pilgrims joining us from Ireland to India, Poland to Puerto Rico, Scotland to Slovakia, Argentina to Australia and from United States to the United Arab Emirates.
‘We can also see from our registration figures that we have a lot of parents who have decided to come with their children to be with us for our celebration of family. It is wonderful to know that we will be welcoming so many families from overseas and hearing their experiences of family life in their country.’
Volunteering for the World Meeting of Families
WMOF2018 have invited thousands of volunteers to join them for the once-in-a-generation event. Several thousand volunteers are needed to assist with planning and organising the international celebration. To apply to become a WMOF2018 volunteer please visit www.worldmeeting2018.ie/volunteer. Becoming a volunteer will include a formal online volunteer application, a training programme, as well as Garda vetting and screening process in line with WMOF2018 safeguarding policies. Volunteers must be resident in Ireland, over 18 years of age and respectful of the Catholic ethos of the event. Volunteers will also assist at related preparatory events which will take place around the country.
Commenting on the call for volunteers Brenda Drumm said, ‘We are inviting people aged 18+ to get in touch with us and to sign up now to volunteer. We are also inviting people to consider volunteering as part of a group. This is an aspect of volunteering that might be attractive to TY students or to teachers who want to offer their pupils the opportunity to be part of this once in a generation event. Once the students are aged 16 and have a group leader aged 18+ they are eligible to volunteer as a group, as a class etc.’
Host A Pilgrim/Family Programme
A tradition of hosting pilgrims has grown around the World Meeting of Families over the years. Individuals and families from countries such as Peru, Ecuador, the Philippines, Bangladesh face significant costs if they wish to attend the World Meeting of Families in Ireland. These countries have had an Irish missionary presence in the past and some continue to do so today. In addition to the volunteer recruitment drive, WMOF2018 are also looking for offers of accommodation for overseas pilgrims in family homes in the Dublin area, and particularly in areas which have a good bus or rail links to the City Centre. Applicants interested in hosting pilgrim, or a family, in their home, are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org and please insert ‘Host a Family’ in the subject field.
Brenda Drumm concluded by inviting people to sign up now to register for the different events taking place as part of WMOF2018. She said, ‘Tickets for all the elements of WMOF2018 are available now. There is no charge for the tickets for the Festival of Families and the Closing Mass. However, at the moment the only way to ensure a ticket for these two events is to register and pay to attend at least one day at the Pastoral Congress in the RDS.’
‘When I am out and about in parishes I am meeting loads of enthusiastic people who are telling me they are looking forward to the WMOF2018. But, when I ask them if they have registered, they tell me they have not gotten around to it yet! If you want to be in the RDS listening to world-renowned speakers and participating in workshops on all aspects of family life, please register now. If you want to be part of the unique experience of the Festival of Families and the Closing Mass, with (hopefully) Pope Francis present, please register now.’
For more information see www.worldmeeting2018.ie.