Posted On June, 11 - 2018
Comments of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on the launch of the programme of the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families
Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, 11 June 2018
“We are here to officially announce the programme of the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families together with the details of the Programme for the Family Pastoral Congress that will be held at the RDS in Dublin on the days before the visit of the Pope.
Today we launch the programme of the final stage of a process that has been underway for over two years here in Ireland and has reached out to parishes throughout the country through the Amoris pastoral programmes.
My hope is that now the World Meeting of Families – the pastoral preparation, the Pastoral Congress in the RDS and the visit of Pope Francis – will open out for families renewed inspiration, hope and healing.
The visit of Pope Francis to the World Meeting of Families in Dublin must not be just a once off event. It comes as the Church in Ireland struggles to find a new place in Irish society and culture – a very different one from the dominant one it held in the past.
Pope Francis is above all a free man. He shows us we can live in a world where faith seems marginal and yet manage to touch hearts and challenge them to reflect on and discern those fundamental values vital for society. What he does is to find ways in which he can win hearts for what the teaching of Jesus involves, not through imposing and judging, but through winning and attracting.
Pope Francis said to me that he considers the World Meeting of Families as a gift to the Irish Church. His idea, however, is not that we will receive a gift to be placed in a glass-case for ourselves. He looks on the World Meeting of Families as a gift that the Irish Church can then share with others.
Family is about love, no matter how imperfect and failing: it is about a love that enriches lives. I am thinking about the love of spouses, the love of parents for children, the goodness with which families enrich communities. We have great families who would never think of themselves as great: they simply do their best. Where would any of us be without the love and generosity we received from our parents?
I wish to sincerely thank all those in the Church in Ireland and the public authorities all of whom, in their own areas of competence, have made an enormous contribution to ensure that as many people who wish to can take part in the events.
I encourage families to take part in the global event that is World Meeting of Families. I encourage families to take this unique opportunity to see Pope Francis where they can. All are welcome.”
Full details of the Pastoral Programme for the World Meeting of Families in the RDS in Dublin are available here: www.worldmeeting2018.ie