This coming weekend (25-26 August) marks Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland.
The main reason for his visit is the World Meeting of Families. The theme of this gathering of thousands of families in Dublin from all over the world is: “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”, and is based on the Pope’s letter “The Joy of Love”.
The key issues related to the family include:
- Faith and Family
- The impact of conflict on families and children
- The role of technology in the family
- Building a more sustainable approach to the economy, work and the environment
- Women’s Leadership roles, globally and locally
- The role of education in helping families out of poverty.
These are all issues that could well form part of discussion in families, between parents and children.
I look forward to reading more about these issues at the conclusion of the conference.
You could follow this world-wide event of the Catholic Church by simply entering WMOF2018 in Google, and following the prompts.
I know that the media has shown little interest in reporting this meeting, and even less in covering the topic. Instead the media has focused on the issue of sexual abuse in Ireland, and on the Catholic Church’s failure to deal effectively with this issue (as if it was all Pope Francis’ fault!) We all admit that there is a lot more to be done in this area. This is an enormous challenge for the Church, and it will take years to redress the wrongs of the past.
However, it would be a real shame if this important meeting of families from all over the world were to be disrupted by people with a different agenda. Again, no doubt the media will delight in reporting any protests against the Pope and against the Church.
As followers of Don Bosco, we are extremely concerned about the protection and wellbeing of children. But we are also placing great importance on the role of the family in education, especially in partnering the school in the great challenge of forming young Christian leaders for the future.
So, this weekend, I encourage all readers to spare a prayer for Pope Francis, and for all families – those who take part in the conference in Ireland, and those who will be watching this event from home.
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB
PS – If you Google WMOF2018, you will find a beautiful prayer for this event, and you can read it, or pray it, in several languages… Try it !