In preparation for the 9th World Meeting of Families in Dublin next August, WMOF2018 is spreading a message of joy and love this Christmas through a special Christmas card that has been made available for family homes.
The card is based on the official WMOF2018 ‘Icon of the Holy Family’ which is currently journeying to each of the 26 dioceses of Ireland – to encourage reflection and prayer in preparation for the World Meeting of Families. The ‘Icon of the Holy Family’ is accompanied by petition boxes, enabling families to write intentions and prayers. Contemplative communities around Ireland will pray for the intentions collected during the coming year.
Due to unprecedented demand more than 700,000 of the Christmas Icon cards have been distributed to parishes for distribution to families at Christmas Masses. The cards have also been made available to religious orders and missionaries in Ireland through AMRI. WMOF2018 has also linked in with the chaplaincy to the Defence Forces to send 700 copies of the card to Irish men and women serving overseas. More than 35,000 copies of the card were distributed to dioceses in England and Wales.
Commenting on the Christmas card initiative, Father Tim Bartlett, Secretary General of WMOF2018 said, “Pope Francis has asked that in the lead up to WMOF2018, families would be offered an opportunity to reflect on his document Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). We currently have a programme of preparation in place for parishes and for families and our Icon is part of that programme.
“Our Christmas card is a replica of the beautiful Icon of the Holy Family that we have commissioned for use as part of our reflections on Amoris Laetitia. When the doors of the Icon are closed, it looks like a house with front doors. When the doors are opened we see inside the Holy Family sharing a meal, and to left and right, the Raising of Jairus’ Daughter and the Wedding Feast of Cana. On the base of the Icon is the inscription ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (The Joy of Love), the title of Pope Francis’ exhortation on love in the family, the source of our reflections during WMOF2018.”
Father Bartlett continued, “The Icon card also includes the official prayer for next year’s WMOF2018 and is designed in such a way that it can be set up on the mantelpiece and used throughout the year or used as the prayer before the family sits down to Christmas dinner this year.
“Every home in the country will have the opportunity to receive one of our family Icon Christmas cards which parishes will make available at Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We are delighted with the demand for these cards which is unprecedented.
“My hope is that families will take the card home from Masses over Christmas and use it as a source of family prayer and reflection as we continue our preparations for WMOF2018.”
Dublin, Ireland, has been chosen by Pope Francis to host the next World Meeting of Families from 21-26 August 2018, guided by the theme “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.
See www.worldmeeting2018.ie for more information.