An Introduction to the Theme of World Meeting of Families 2018
The theme for each World Meeting of Families is chosen by the Pope. In choosing The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World, as the theme for the ninth World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on a theme that was central to the Synodal process that led to his post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family.
‘The Church and The Gospel of the Family’ was a key theme in the Preparatory Document for the III Extraordinary Assembly of Bishops in October 2014, a document that was the subject of unprecedented consultation among the faithful of the Church across the world. While the preparatory document does not give a specific definition of the term, ‘The Gospel of the Family’, it does convey at least three senses in which this relatively new phrase in the Church’s tradition can be understood:
- The family, founded on the marriage of a man and woman, is part of God’s plan from the beginning. The ‘Good News’ of the family is therefore an indispensable part of the joyful message of the Gospel that the Church proclaims.
- The family is the principal agent of evangelisation of its own members. As the first school of faith and love, the Christian family is often where we ourselves first come to know Jesus and his love.
- The family proclaims the Gospel to the World. The Christian family, by its witness to the life and love of Jesus, is a principal agent of evangelisation to the world.
- As Pope Francis explains in the opening words of Amoris Laetitia¸“the Christian proclamation on the family is good news indeed” (AL,1). The Christian proclamation of the family is an indispensable part of the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel. God’s plan for the family, revealed in Sacred Scripture from the beginning, is joy for the world!
The World Meeting of Families 2018 will explore each of these dimensions of theme the Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World and what it means for families and the Church today.
We also invite you to follow various local and international contributors to our online Amoris programme who will help us to prepare for World Meeting of Families 2018 by reflecting on some of these themes over the coming year.