By Mario Martinez
It has been almost three years since the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) was hosted in the United States. This year the WMOF will be taking place in Dublin, Ireland from August 21st to the 26th. It is expected that Pope Francis will participate in the Festival of Families and celebrate the closing Mass.
It is such a joy that about 15 people from the Diocese of San Bernardino will be attending this remarkable gathering with our Holy Father.
The WMOF is organized by The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life. Beginning in 1994 in Rome, this international congress takes place every three years. It has previously been held in Italy, Brazil, the Philippines, Spain, Mexico, and the United States. The event’s mission is to strengthen the bonds of families across the globe.
The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this year’s conference is The Gospel of the Family: Joy of the World. When announcing the theme, Pope Francis said that he desires “for families to have a way of deepening their reflection and their sharing of the content of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.”
The Pope points out that it is important for families to ask themselves often if they live based on love, for love and in love. He suggests that in practice it means to give oneself by forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, and respecting. Family life, says Pope Francis, would be much better if the words “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry” were used in everyday life.
The WMOF gathers leaders and scholars from around the world to discuss the critical issues the families of today are facing. More than 100 renowned speakers are scheduled to present information, as well as facilitate conversations in various languages to the thousands of attendees.
The Diocesan pilgrimage to Dublin to see Pope Francis and attend the WMOF will take place from August 19th to August 30th. The package includes roundtrip flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Dublin International Airport, and to Rome, registration for the WMOF Conference, attendance of the Papal Mass, participation in the Family Festival, a trip to Rome, and much more.
For those of us who are not able to make the trip to Ireland, we will have the opportunity to experience this singular world event in our own vicariates! The World Meeting of Families at the Diocese is a five evening event, from August 20th to the 24th (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.); where family catechesis will be the emphasis, with the theme The Gospel of the Family: Joy of the World. Each day the event will take place in a different parish within the vicariate, giving the sense that one is on a pilgrimage.
Mario Martinez is the Coordinator of the Diocesan Marriage Initiative.