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World Meeting of Families Gathers in Dublin

August 24, 2018 — Pope Francis is set to attend the 2018 World Meeting of Families (WMOF), bringing together families across the world from August 21-26 in Dublin.

Held every three years, the theme of this year’s event is “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.” The previous World Meeting of Families was held in Philadelphia during Pope Francis’ first trip to the United States in 2015.


Attendees watch Pope Francis on a screen during the opening ceremony of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin Aug. 21. (CNS photo/courtesy John McElroy, World Meeting of Families)

This year’s event began with an opening ceremony on August 21 and continues with a three-day convention from August 22 to 24. Scheduled for each day are keynote speakers, workshops, talks, testimonies and discussions, as well as programs for young adults and children.

American Jesuit Father James Martin, author and editor-at-large of America magazine, spoke on August 23 about welcoming LGBT Catholics, a topic on which he is well-versed after penning his book "Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity."

"LGBT people are more than their sexual lives. But sometimes that's all they hear about," Fr. Martin said during his talk.


Jesuit Father James Martin greets attendees at a book signing following a presentation at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin Aug. 23. (CNS photo/Gina Christian)

The three-day Congress also includes daily celebration of the Eucharist, prayerful activities, exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances.


Prelates arrive to celebrate Mass Aug. 22 at Dublin's Family Arena during the World Meeting of Families. (CNS photo/courtesy John McElroy, World Meeting of Families)

Pope Francis will arrive on August 25 in Dublin to attend the Festival of Families, a concert event with “a prayerful and joyful atmosphere.” Italian singer-songwriter Andrea Bocelli will headline the event, and “personal stories of faith will be shared by families from all continents.”

Upon his arrival in Dublin, the pope will visit the Blessed Sacrament chapel in in St. Mary's Cathedral in Dublin, where he will pray silently before a candle that burns for survivors of sexual abuse.

On his trip, Pope Francis will also visit the city of Knock, a pilgrimage site in Western Ireland, and meet with survivors of abuse directly.


The stage from where Pope Francis will celebrate Mass is seen under construction Aug. 19 at Phoenix Park in Dublin. Pope Francis will visit Dublin and Knock, Aug. 25-26, mainly for the World Meeting of Families. (CNS photo/Clodagh Kilcoyne, Reuters)

The pope said he prayed his trip would "further the growth of unity and reconciliation" among all Christians "as a sign of that lasting peace which is God's dream for our whole human family."

The WMOF will close on August 26 with an open-air Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Phoenix Park. 

"I ask everyone to pray that this great festival will be a moment of joy and serenity, a caress of Jesus' tender love for all families, and indeed, for all God's children," the pope said.

[Sources: World Meeting of Families, Catholic News Service]

Related: Fr. James Martin, SJ, to Speak on Welcoming LGBT Catholics at World Meeting of Families

U.S. Jesuit Urges Catholics to Examine Attitudes Toward LGBT Community



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