At least three thousand volunteers are needed to assist with the planning and organising of the ninth World Meeting of Families which Pope Francis asked Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to host in Dublin in 2018. This six-day festival of faith will take place from 21 to 26 August next year with the theme: “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.
As part of its pastoral preparations the organisers of the World Meeting of Families are now inviting thousands of volunteers to participate in this once-in-a-generation event. The volunteers will be part of the operational team which will organise and run what will be the largest gathering of families in the world.
In addition to the volunteer recruitment drive, a ‘Host a Pilgrim/Family’ programme has also been launched with the aim of hosting pilgrims in family-homes based in and around Dublin.
Launching the recruitment drive and host family programme, the WMOF’s Secretary General Father Timothy Bartlett said, “On behalf of the World Meeting of Families 2018 I encourage any individual or group who has an interest in supporting this joyful and faith-filled event to become involved and join as a volunteer. I have no doubt that it will be a rewarding and memorable experience for anyone who takes part, as well as a unique opportunity to contribute to one of the biggest events to take place in Ireland next year. We are a welcoming nation and people who will offer a warm welcome to the many families who are expected to join us from across the world for this incredible event, are now invited to apply to join as a volunteer.”
Father Bartlett continued, “We are inviting women and men with a variety of gifts, skills and talents to help us. Volunteers will be needed in a variety of roles such as acting as event ambassadors, stewards, ushers, meeting and greeting guests, offering hospitality, supporting media communications and providing information, music, liturgy, medical services, pastoral support, language translation, administration, transport, photographic services, and in logistics.”
Father Bartlett concluded, “Most importantly of all we are looking for people with a welcoming, positive and flexible attitude, who can work as part of a team to assist the thousands of pilgrims who will come to participate in the World Meeting of Families in 2018.”
The World Meeting of Families is hosted in a different location every three years; the most recent being Philadelphia in September 2015 which was attended by Pope Francis. Whilst WMOF2018 will include exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances, events around the city, gestures of solidarity, it will comprise four key events:
Firstly, a National Opening of World Meeting of Families will take place simultaneously in the twenty-six dioceses on the island of Ireland;
Secondly, from 21 to 24 August, a three-day Congress will entail a joyful and reflective programme of workshops, talks and discussions centred on the theme: “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”. The Congress will also offer an engaging programme for young people to include faith and fun activities for children.
Thirdly, a Festival of Families which will be held on Saturday 25 August 2018. This will involve a cultural concert within a prayerful and joyful atmosphere, during which personal stories of faith will be shared by families, each representing the five continents.
Fourthly, Holy Mass for WMOF2018. A solemn Eucharistic Celebration on Sunday 26 August will involve thousands of pilgrims from Ireland and around the world.
Volunteering for the World Meeting of Families
To apply to become a WMOF2018 volunteer, whether to start with helping with the preparations in the run up to the event and/or during the five days of the event, 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.
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. World Meeting of Families 2018 is now actively seeking offers to provide accommodation for overseas pilgrims in family homes based in Dublin and in the greater Dublin area, and particularly in locations which are close to direct bus or rail links to the city centre. Applicants interested in hosting pilgrim, or a family, in their home, are invited to email email@example.com and please insert “Host a Family” in the subject field.
For more on the World Meeting of Families 2018 see www.worldmeeting2018.ie.