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Archbishop Martin Speaks on World Meeting of Families in Dublin 2018

‘The family is called to be a place of encounter with that divine mercy which heals and liberates’

Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, says “The World Meeting of Families 2018 in Dublin sets out to be not just a passing even or a fleeting celebration of the ideals of family life.”

The Irish prelate made this statement today, Thursday, March 30, 2017, in the Holy See Press Office, during the presentation of Pope Francis’ letter to the organizers of the 9th World Meeting of the Family, which will be held in Dublin from August 21-26, 2018.

He was speaking alongside Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, to whom the Pontiff had sent the letter for the World Meeting which was the theme: “The Gospel of the Family: joy for the world.”

The celebration in Dublin in August 2018, Archbishop Martin explained, will be “prepared by an extensive catechesis on the meaning of conjugal and family love and on the role of the family in society.”

“It will be a moment of renewal for the Church in Ireland” and will allow for wide involvement of lay faithful and aim to make the role of the family be understood in greater depth.

“It will be a moment in which families can regain confidence in carrying out their mission in the context of a Church which is merciful and which accompanies them in the ups and downs of their lives.”

“The Church in Ireland, and especially my Archdiocese of Dublin,” Archbishop Martin acknowledged, “is aware of the privilege that Pope Francis has assigned to it but is also aware of the challenge that the Pope has placed on its shoulders.”

“The challenge,” he concluded, “is not just of organizing a large world event, but of recalling for a modern society such as that of Ireland, with its complex mix of secularization and faith, how important the family is for the future of Ireland and of the wider society especially in Europe.”

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Below is the Vatican-provided text of the intervention given today in the Vatican Press Office by Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin:

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People of all backgrounds are fascinated by Pope Francis. Even those who do not belong to the Church understand that he wishes to set in place a real renewal of the Church and they wish him well.

What inspires Pope Francis in his desire for renewal? There is a danger that each person would try to impose their own idea which may well be other than the Pope’s vision of authentic renewal.

In his Letter of Convocation of the World Meeting of Families, which is published today, Pope Francis explains what his dream of the Church is:

“I dream of a Church which reaches out, not a Church which is self-referential, a Church which does not pass by at a distance the hurts of humankind, a merciful Church which announces what is at the heart of the revelation of divine love, and that is mercy”.

Pope Francis has expressed these ideas on many other occasions. They were evident in the short speech he gave to the Cardinals on the days prior to the Conclave which elected him. What is innovative in the Letter of Convocation is the emphasis on the central place that the family is called to play in realisng this great dream of renewal of the Pope.

The family is called to be a place of encounter with that divine mercy which heals and liberates. The family is called to be the place where spouses love each other not in vague romantic terms but in terms of their everyday realities and difficulties. Living love in the family involves family members knowing how to generously give of themselves, involves knowing how to forgive, knowling never to lose patience, but rather to reach out to understand and to respect each other.

The Pope’s vision of the mission of the family does not attempt to hide the fact that families experience challenges, weakness, fragility and even breakdown. Families need a Church which is with them, accompanying them in a process of discernment and integration though helping them to respond with a ‘yes’ to the Divine love.

The World Meeting of Families 2018 in Dublin sets out to be not just a passing even or a fleeting celebration of the ideals of family life. It is a moment in which the entire Church can deepen its reflection on the teaching of Amoris Laetitia; it is a moment in which the daily love of husbands and wives and the daily love of parents for their children can be recognised as a fundamental resource for the renewal of the Church and of society. The Church must be a place where those who have failed can experience not harsh judgement but the strong embrace of the Lord which can lift them up to begin again to realise their own dream even if only imperfectly.

The celebration in Dublin in August 2018 will be prepared by an extensive catechesis on the meaning of conjugal and family love and on the role of the family in society. It will be a moment of renewal for the Church in Ireland with wide involvement of lay faithful. It will be a moment in which the role of the family can be understood in greater depth. It will be a moment in which families can regain confidence in carrying out their mission in the context of a Church which is merciful and which accompanies them in the ups and downs of their lives.

The Church in Ireland – and especially my Archdiocese of Dublin – is aware of the privilege that Pope Francis has assigned to it but is also aware of the challenge that the Pope has placed on its shoulders. The challenge is not just of organizing a large world event, but of recalling for a modern society such as that of Ireland, with its complex mix of secularisation and faith, how important the family is for the future of Ireland and of the wider society especially in Europe.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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