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Homily for opening of WMOF week, Nenagh

Diocesan Celebration for World Meeting of Families – St. Mary’s Church, Nenagh, Tuesday, October 21st, 2018

At last after all the preparation and diligent planning the big week of World Meeting of Families 2018, WMOF2018 has finally arrived.

It has been a year of focus on the meaning of family, the Gospel of Familyfor us as Church on an international, national, diocesan, cluster, parish and family level – right across the board.

The preparation for World Meeting of Families has been very broad and comprehensive with much hard work and effort put into so many projects and it is my hope that this work will bear much fruit and help support the important and cherished unit within our Church and society that is family.

Pope Francis on the Theme of Family

Right from the early days of the appointment of Pope Francis we could see that the treasure that is family was very dear to the heart of the Pontif and that was clear from the synod on the family in which we are all invited to contribute on-line and present our views and opinions on how best to support families in the very challenging environment in which we live.

 

Amoris Laetitia.  The Joy of Love.

A lot of ink has been spilt in response to the thought provoking text on the family, The Joy of Love, Amoris Laetitia, the fruit of the deliberations and consultation on family and many of us have reflected deeply on the contents of this.

 

Lauch in Knock and anointing of icon.

This time last year, as a matter of fact, this very day last year we had the national launch of the preparations with the anointing of the specially commissioned Icon for The World Meetingof Familiesand each diocese being representedandpicking up the petition prayer boxesthat visited every parish.

 

Setting up of steering group.

A hard working steering group under the excellent leadership of Fr. Arnold Rosney and I thank them for all their great work during the past years in so many areas.

 

Various Events in the Course of the Year

So much was done and achieved in the course of the year thanks to the great planning of the steeting group.

  • Liturgical Diocesan Launch in Ennis Cathedral.
  • Diocesan Conference on family in Shannon.
  • Distribution of icons of WMOF.
  • Bambinelli Sunday.
  • Confirmation season for over 2,000 students, with the theme of each Confirmation centering around family and the distribution of WMOF wristbands to each girl and boy being confimed.
  • Diocesan Family Picnic in Showgrounds in Ennis during the May bank holiday weekend.
  • Arrival of the Icon in July to Kilkee, Ennis and Birr.
  • Walk from Nenagh to Dublinunder the leadership of Donie Mackeystarted on the feast of Our Lady from Nenagh and arriving in Dublin for the Papal Mass on Sunday.

 

World Meeting Week

We look forward with great anticipation to the workshops, liturgies and ceremonies in the RDS this week along with the festival of families in Croke Park on Saturday evening, the visit to Knock on Sunday morning and the highlight of WMOF, the Mass with Pope Francis on Sunday afternoon in the Phoenix Park.

 

Context of Family

One of the things that struck me most in reflection on this important theme of family in a Church context is the absolute centrality of family to practically all our celebrations and rituals as Church, whether that be baptism, first holy communion, confirmation, marriage, funerals or weekly Mass.  Family is so central to all we do as Church and it would be remiss of us not to support that in every possible way that we can, no matter what shape or size that family unit comes in.

 

The Gospel of Family

The one phrase that has stood with me from Pope Francis’ letter, The Joy of Love is the Gospel of the Family.  In the normal run of events, for most if not all people, family is exactly that – Gospel, Good News, the medium in which the great love of God is mediated to us to help us grow spiritually right through our lives.

 

Legacy of the WMOF2018

So what will be the legacy of World Meeting of Families. What a week we have had in terms of the huge international furore around the hugely important issue of Child Safeguarding.  In solidarity with heartfelt views expressed by Pope Francis in his letter to the faithful of the world yesterday – I express a sense of shame and sadness and profound apology for anyone who has been hurt, abusedor mistreated in any way, especially locally in our own diocese.  This week and always we renew and redouble our own resolve to make the Church a safe place for all, especially the vulnerable.

 

The event we celebrate, this week WMOF,I would hope would help to uniteus-that we, as Church areFamily, the family of familes, but knowing that we are vulnerable and need not only the care of each other but are totally reliant on God also for his providence and care.  We need to look out for each other, to ensure that we have a safe and positive and happy environment for everyone to thrive, mature and develop in the love of God right throughout our lives.

 

Blessing and Good wish

May the visit of Pope Francis and the blessings of the huge endeavours around the liturgies, workshops, prayers, Masses and gathering of the world community of Family of Families enrich us and bless us and all our families during this special time and always.