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Pastoral Letters

World Meeting of Families - 2018


Letter to be Read out at all Masses [February 24/25]

World Meeting of Families

Dear Friends,

As you know, we have just recently heard that Pope Francis is coming to Ireland in late August for the World Meeting of Families, a major worldwide five-day event that takes place every three years in different parts of the world. The last venue was Philadelphia. Pope Francis has personally chosen Ireland for this year’s event.

The World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin from August 22-26. It will consist of:

  • a three-day congress in the RDS, Dublin;
  • a “festival of families” on Saturday afternoon in Croke Park;
  • a concluding Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on Sunday morning in

the Pheonix Park.       

All the details are in flyers which have gone to schools and are available at the back of the church. I’d ask every family, if they have not already done so, to take one home today.

The World Meeting of Families is a major event. I believe God is giving us in Ireland a wonderful gift in letting us be the worldwide hosts of this event. It could be a real opportunity for us to let the Holy Spirit put wind in our sails to the benefit of our families, our Church and future generations.

I am asking you, therefore, to respond generously to this gift from God and get involved.

How? There are a few ways.

Firstly, take part in the events that we will be running here in the Diocese between now and August in preparation for it.  The Amoris, The Joy of Love programme is a six-part programme, using engaging short videos and discussion, based on Pope Francis’ letter entitled “The Joy of Love”. We hope to roll it out across the diocese at various locations and times between now and June [each priest can give details of local arrangements]. The purpose of the Amoris programme is to provide us all with an opportunity to think about our vision and hopes for family and marriage, and a chance to rediscover the gift that family is to the world.

A second way to get involved is to Register now to take part in all or some of the actual event itself in August. You can do so by going on the World Meeting of Families website: worldmeeting2018.ie (remember the Croke Park event will probably be fully booked out very soon). It also helps the organisers if we register early.

It will be a really wonderful event and it would be great if you could encourage your wider family – even if they’re not going to Church regularly – to come along. They won’t regret it! I encourage you to plan ahead and that might mean having to ask relatives if you can stay with them in Dublin for those days.

Hosting the national and international World Meeting of Families requires an enormous amount of planning and funding. Thousands are coming from around the world to join the Irish for the event. The planning is at an advanced stage.  A dedicated office and support team has been established and they are working hard to bring to life the different elements of the World Meeting. Obviously there is a cost involved in all of this so for that reason a national collection is being taken today (and tomorrow) at all Masses.  I encourage you to be as generous as you can.

Another way to get involved is to consider Volunteering.  I know that only a certain number of people will have the time and freedom to do this, but it would be a great opportunity for those who do (including young adults). Many thousands of Irish and International pilgrims will be converging on Dublin for the five days. Organising it and seeing it through will only be possible with the help of generous volunteers in various roles, such as stewards, welcoming and information teams, photographers, bloggers, media support, logistics, programming support, among many roles. If you or someone you know – young or not so young! – has some time to dedicate, please get in touch. I know the 2000 Volunteers at the Eucharistic Congress in 2012 really got a lot out of it. There’s a special section on the World Meeting website for volunteering.

Finally, one simple way you can get involved is Talk about the World Meeting of Families with others. Start with people around you – neighbours, work colleagues, friends. Tell them about the website. Tell them about the events and programmes we in the Diocese have going on.

As I say, the World Meeting of Families is a gift being offered to you. I encourage you to accept it with enthusiasm. And thank you in advance for any financial assistance you can give.

Let’s remember one another in prayer,


+Brendan Leahy,

Bishop of Limerick.