WelCom September 2018:
His Holiness Pope Francis hosted the World Meeting of Families 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. The guiding theme was: ‘The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World’. Held every three years, this major international event brings together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect on the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church. Cardinal John Dew attended the World Meeting of Families, 21–26 August.
The day before the World Meeting of Families began, I visited EPIC for about three hours. EPIC is the museum which tells the story of Irish Emigration. I found it fascinating, full of information and in places very sad. I mentioned to one of the people at this Congress that I had visited EPIC and how much I appreciated it. This woman then spoke about the ‘fighting spirit’ of the Irish. She said that in this sad and distressing time, with more and more stories of sexual abuse in the church coming to light, this fighting spirit will give people the courage to face this issue.
While in Dublin I am thinking of you all, particularly in view of Pope Francis’ letter to us all, and I wanted to let you know my thoughts and prayers are with you. In my absence, Monsignor Gerard Burns has prepared an article for NauMai–WelCom in response to the papal letter. Bishop Patrick Dunn has also issued a statement. I pray that we will all have the determination, resolve and the faith to assist those who have been so greatly wronged. We cannot hide from these events and pretend they did not happen. I pray too that we will all have the ‘fighting spirit’ to go ahead in great hope as together we make sure we build a ‘safe Church for everyone’.
Lastly, my overall impression of the three-day Congress held during the World Meeting is that I am surrounded by people of hope. There are about 40,000 people here and they simply want the best for their marriages and their families. The thousands here from all around the world are being inspired and are being given the opportunities to hear wonderful panellists, inspiring testimonies and to participate in prayerful and joyful liturgies.