Posted On March, 29 - 2018
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin and President of the World Meeting of Families 2018, shared some thoughts about family during his homily for the annual Chrism Mass in the Archdiocese of Dublin today, Holy Thursday, 29 March 2018. The Archbishop also placed the World Meeting of Families under the protection of the Mary and of the Holy Family of Nazareth. You can read the Archbishop's words below:
"This year we will celebrate the World Meeting of Families with the presence of Pope Francis. Why a World Meeting for Families? Let me share some reflections with you. The World Meeting is not just a five-day event but a moment in which we focus of the mission of families within the Church and society. In families, life and faith and love are celebrated and lived in an integrated way.
"Spouses witness to Jesus through their love for each other. The sexual love of spouses mirrors in its own way the tenderness of God’s love. The love of spouses is a call to fidelity in love, reflecting the fidelity of God to his people. Families welcome new life and embrace the children God may give them with the warmth of God’s love expressed in a human fashion.
"Family life is not easy. Families are under enormous challenge. There is a sense in which the struggle of families is central to understanding many of the social challenges of life today: families struggle financially; they grapple with uncertainty about the values of society; refugees long to be reunited with their families or are struggling to keep their families together. Many more families are homeless, but in the face of indignity they still keep heroically alive their love as spouses and their love or their children.
"I am really saddened by the fact that in the Capuchin Day Centre for the homeless they have had to open a special section where homeless families can share a meal together. These are parents and their children without a home who are, thank God, offered the possibility of being together to share - what we all wish to do - a family meal.
"The failures of the Church in the past and the present very often struck at the lives of families. I have heard the cry of parents who experienced the pain of one or other family member having been abused and many were not listened to. Women who found themselves as single parents were often taken away from their children and at times children were left without knowing that they belonged to a family and had brothers and sisters. Where the church failed families and children then the Church failed Jesus himself.
"Families vary. It is hard today to socially define what we call “the traditional family”. Every family has its own personal story and its own personal history. They are all different. Children are brought up in different settings, by married couples, by grandparents, by single parents, by non-married couples, by separated couples, by gay and lesbian couples. This is a statement of fact not of ideology. The Church must work to help that all these children are loved and are introduced to an appreciation of the Gospel of love.
"The Church must of course also find new and robust ways to attract future generations to an integral understanding of the beauty of Christ’s unchanging teaching on marital love and fidelity. Passing on the Christian understanding of marriage and families is another difficult challenge for families.
"Family is central to the lives of all and also to the care and ministry of the Church. As a Church in this diocese, we have to rediscover the irreplaceable role of families in our understanding of ministry. Parents have inalienable rights regarding the education of their children. As Church communities we need to find structures of dialogue with parents on this issue.
"There is no ideal family but there is an ideal of family that springs from the teaching of Jesus. We have great families and we have families that fail. Here today we gather together. We do not put any of us under the microscope of where we are in our search for perfection. We are all sinners on a constant path of conversion. We learn to work together and support each other, to pray for each other.
"I know just how much the laymen and women of this diocese appreciate and support the work of their priests. I know how priests seek to support families in their difficult challenges and how they learn from the goodness and generosity of families.
"Family is about love and none us can claim that our love does not need constant purification. Together let us allow the powerful love of Jesus take hold of us in our imperfection.
"We place the World Meeting of Families under the protection of the Mary and of the Holy Family of Nazareth. We pray that the Church will become more visibly the community that witnesses to the care of Jesus and which enables every family to realise its dream for fulfilment and the healthy growth of children.”