Bishop Brendan reflects on the upcoming gathering for families and on the call to support the preparation for this important Faith Event
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In 2018, the 9th World Meeting of Families is expected to attract thousands of Catholic families from around the globe to Ireland. It is hoped that this very special pastoral initiative will present all of us in the Church with the opportunity, and the challenge, to renew, support and strengthen Irish families in their commitment to their faith.
Hosting a global event of this size requires a huge amount of planning and financial outlay on behalf of the host country. Accordingly, the bishops have now established a National Finance Committee to provide advice on the financial planning for the World Meeting of Families in Ireland. There will be three national collections to support the hosting of the event, the first of which will take place this weekend, 28 and 29 May. The remaining collections will take place in 2017 and 2018.
The World Meeting of Families was a pastoral initiative of Saint John Paul II. Held every three years, and coordinated by the Pontifical Council for the Family, it is the largest universal gathering of Catholic families and brings together families from all over the world in faith and celebration.
The theme of the family is central to the ministry of Pope Francis. Shortly after his election, Pope Francis began a process of reflection within the Church across the world on the family. He announced the holding of two sessions of the Synod of Bishops: one on the situation of families across the world and the other on how to respond to the challenges facing family life. Pope Francis recently published a wide-ranging document as a fruit of that process, entitled Amoris Laetitia, on love in the family.
Frequently asked questions on the World Meeting of Families
Why does Pope Francis consider the family as so important?
- The welfare of the family is decisive for the future of the world and that of the Church.
- The experience of love in families is a perennial source of strength for the life of the Church.
- The family is like a factory of hope.
- God likes most to knock on the doors of families and to find families that are united, that love each other and that raise their children in view of creating a society of truth, goodness and beauty.
What is the World Meeting of Families?
In 1994, Saint John Paul II asked the Pontifical Council for the Family to establish the World Meeting of Families as an international event of prayer, catechesis and celebration, drawing participants from around the globe. It seeks to strengthen the bonds between families and to bear witness to the crucial importance of marriage and the family for all of society. The World Meeting also fosters gestures of solidarity for families in difficulty.
When is the World Meeting of Families held?
The World Meeting of Families was first celebrated in Rome in 1994. Since then, meetings have been in Rio de Janeiro (1997), Rome (2000), Manila (2003), Valencia (2006), Mexico City (2009), Milan (2012), Philadelphia (2015) and now Dublin, Ireland (2018). The principal events of the World Meeting of Families 2018 will be held in Dublin, but events will also take place in other centres around Ireland. The title and the dates of the 2018 meeting will be decided and announced by Pope Francis himself.
Who will organise the World Meeting of Families 2018?
The World Meeting of Families 2018 will be organised jointly by the Pontifical Council for the Family and by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, as bishop of the host diocese. The planning will involve teams of women and men – clergy, religious and lay – from all over Ireland. A committee of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has been set up to oversee fundraising for the event. In preparation for the meeting, a programme of pastoral preparation centered on the family will take place across Ireland, in particular during 2017. It is hoped that alongside the events, gestures of solidarity will be fostered, especially with the setting up of a Pope Francis Fund for Homelessness.
How can I make a donation to the World Meeting of Families?
The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference will be holding three national Sunday church collections over the coming years. It will also be possible to donate online through our website, by bank transfer, cheque or money order. Over the coming months the details will be available on the website www.worldmeeting2018.ie.
- Text courtesy of www.catholicbishops.ie (Catholic Communications Office)
- Photo: Vincent Sherlock
Pope Francis approves the beatification of Venerable John Sullivan
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has warmly welcomed the news todaythat Pope Francis has approved the beatification of Venerable John Sullivan (1861-1933)
Pope Francis approved the decree that authenticated a miracle attributed to Fr Sullivan at an audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Many miracles have been attributed to the Jesuit priest who was baptised into the Church of Ireland (his father’s tradition) and who became a Roman Catholic (his mother’s tradition) in the second half of his life.
His early education was at Portora Royal Enniskillen and Trinity College Dublin. Much of his priestly life was spent in Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare, where he had a reputation for sanctity among the schoolboys and the many local often poor people whom he visited. Word of his holy and healing ways spread around Ireland and to this day thousands visit his tomb in Gardiner St Church with deep devotion, praying for his help and intercession for healing.
Archbishop Martin and Archbishop Michael Jackson, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin have joined together on several occasions in prayer for Fr. John Sullivan at Gardiner Street Church in Dublin, which holds the John Sullivan cross
Archbishop Martin said John Sullivan was marked in a special way by a great care for the sick. “Reading his biographies is like reading a directory of the hospitals and the homes for the sick in the Dublin of his days. There was nothing that would hold him back from visiting someone who was sick and who had asked for his prayers. In his years in Clongowes College he would travel by bicycle or on foot when he heard the news of someone who was ill. He was not a medical expert or a faith healer, but a man who through his own prayer and personal holiness was able to transmit to those he encountered something of the healing power and the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
Archbishop Martin said John Sullivan’s seeking for God led him towards the Catholic Church and then towards priestly ordination, but he never renounced the initial formation he had received in the tradition of the Church of Ireland “John Sullivan’s faith was the product of two traditions and always remained so and was enriched by that fact.
Fr Conor Harper SJ, Vice Postulator for the cause if Fr John Sullivan says the long awaited news will delight many of the friends of John Sullivan throughout the world but especially here in Ireland. “What is remarkable about Fr John Sullivan”, he adds, “has been the manner in which he is remembered and revered in the two Christian traditions that were so dear to him, the Roman Catholic and the Protestant. Our Church of Ireland friends join us in celebration.”
Also commenting on the news, Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson said, “The holiness of the life of John Sullivan SJ has touched and inspired countless people in Ireland and internationally. We in the Church of Ireland give thanks for the public recognition of holiness, humility and service of humanity on the part of John Sullivan. We rejoice in the fact that, as well as living a life that honoured God and the Jesuit Order, he spent half of his life as a member of the Church of Ireland. In this sense the recognition of his holiness has a strong ecumenical feel to it as he never rejected the influence of the Anglican tradition on his spiritual flourishing. Members of Portora Royal School, where John Sullivan was educated will also rejoice on this day.”
· Fr John Sullivan was born in 1861 and entered the Jesuit Order in 1900. He died on 19 Februrary 1933.
· More information on the life and works of John Sullivan is available at www.frjohnsullivan.ie/
The second Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis has been published today, Friday 8 April 2016. Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) is Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family.
Amoris Laetitia runs to 261 pages and is divided into nine chapters as follows:
- Chapter One – In The Light The Word
- Chapter 2 – The Experiences And Challenges Of Families
- Chapter 3 – Looking To Jesus: The Vocation Of The Family
- Chapter 4 – Love In Marriage
- Chapter 5 – Love Made Fruitful
- Chapter 6 – Some Pastoral Perspectives
- Chapter 7 – Towards A Better Education Of Children
- Chapter 8 – Accompanying, Discerning And Integrating Weakness
- Chapter 9 – The Spirituality Of Marriage And The Family
Amoris Laetitia is being presented this morning in the Vatican by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P., Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, and by the married couple Professor Francesco Miano, lecturer in moral philosophy at the University of Rome, and Professor Giuseppina De Simone Miano, lecturer in philosophy at the Theological Faculty of Southern Italy in Naples. The press conference can be watched live on www.vatican.va.
- Amoris-Laetitia (Full Text)
During the week Pope Francis issued an encyclical on the theme of caring for the earth. It is a far reaching document that undoubtedly will be the focus of much attention long into the future. The text may be accessed here or viewed directly on the Vatican Website
The Vatican Website offers an overview of the contents – here