World Meeting of Families

Dublin, Ireland, has been chosen by Pope Francis to host the next World Meeting of Families from 21-26 August 2018, guided by the theme “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”

We will be bringing you lots of information from this week

Daily updates will be posted here from Anitra Rawlins who is in Dublin this week

Her first update sets the scene as she looks forward to the week in Dublin

Over 200 delegates from England and Wales have made their way to the World Meeting of Families in Dublin. The first three days of the event comprise of talks, workshops and addresses given by experts from all over the world.

Day One – Wednesday 22 August 

Delegates from England and Wales have had a jam packed first full day at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin. Opening today, an exhibition of 200 stands from charities and groups from all over the world gave the group plenty to explore.

Cardinal Tagle’s address on “throw-away culture” was particularly moving. His direct relation to the real experiences of Families was both challenging and motivating in equal measure. Hannah from the Bishops’ Conference Office for Marriage and Family Life said “he got right to the heart of the matter. It was a highly emotional and personal exploration of what Pope Francis’ means by “throw-away culture” informed by Laudato Si and Amoris Laetitia. It is our Relationships with one another that define us and are the key to understanding God’s love for all creation.”

Adrian Chiles, a famous Catholic from #overtheirishsea was grateful for English support at his panel on “the importance of belonging”. Joanne from Cardiff Archdiocese said “he added a cynical and humourous reflection on our growing obsession with wanting to know who our ancestors were”. Humour aside, Joanne gained a lot from the panel. “The panel reflected on the importance of the communion of love in the family and its relationship to the desire to belong.”

Anitra’s second report tells us how day one went and what she is looking forward to tomorrow.


It was a good day for team England and Wales at the World Meeting of Families. Starting with a workshop and ending with a book launch, the delegation were truly able to showcase all the fantastic marriage and family life ministry that takes place in England and Wales.

Caroline Dollard, of the Marriage and Family Life Office at the Bishops’ Conference hosted a workshop with Bishop Peter Doyle. The theme of the workshop was “Marriage Preparation and the Parish in the Light of Amoris Laetitia”. She focused on the importance of welcome in marriage preparation and the role that the parish plays in that welcome. She said, “nothing can prepare us for this lifelong journey, but we can take each step of the adventure with the support of those around us.” Bishop Richard Moth, of Arundel and Brighton Diocese was inspired by this message, suggesting that he will return to the diocese “ready to explore further the role of the parish mentor in accompanying those preparing for and living their vocation to marriage”.

Following this theme, Cardinal Vincent Nichols gave the day’s keynote address on “support and preparation for marriage in the light of Amoris Laetitia”. He addressed the growing idea in our culture that marriage is a private thing. He encouraged the role of the parish and asked them to “embrace this moment with couples and help [the couple] to see the wider richness of the sacrament”. The Cardinal closed his address with a challenge. “Be intentionally welcoming. There is no such thing as a normal marriage. Parish support is crucial in everyone’s journey.” The English and Welsh delegates were particularly moved by the Cardinal’s personal approach. “We really loved the importance of our hands in the Cardinal’s speech. Right from in the womb until we join hands in the marriage ceremony, our hands are so part of our every day lives, but also part of our faith lives too”.

The day was rounded off with a celebration to launch a new pastoral resource, ‘Seeking God Together’ – a companion to support the pastoral accompaniment of families, from cradle to grave, and through all walks of life. The guide is comprised of nine “seasons” of family life, and gives those working in ministry in parishes and schools (as well as at home) an opportunity to accompany families, whatever their circumstances. The book is steeped in the guidance of Amoris Laetitia and encourages parishes to take responsibility for caring for those around them. Bishop Peter Doyle and Cardinal Nichols congratulated those who had been part of the book’s production and celebrated the success of Marriage and Family Life ministry in England and Wales. Cardinal Nichols spoke warmly of the contribution from both national and diocesan teams to the World Meeting of Families.

The delegation were also able to celebrate Bishop Peter’s golden jubilee of ordination, for which he gave thanks for the many blessings in his ministry, including much of the work of those present at the event.


Dublin, Ireland, has been chosen by Pope Francis to host the next World Meeting of Families from 21-26 August 2018, guided by the theme “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 upon the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church. The event has at its heart the following key moments:

  • 21 August 2018, a National Opening of WMOF2018, which will take place simultaneously in all the different dioceses of Ireland.
  • 22 to the 24 August 2018a three-day Congress.  Each day will reflect on the theme “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World” chosen by the Holy Father and will include an enriching programme for adults of keynote speakers, workshops, talks, testimonies and discussions; an engaging and exciting programme for young people as well as fun activities for children. The Congress will also include daily celebration of the Eucharist, prayerful activities, exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances.
  • Saturday 25 August 2018Festival of Families, comprising a reflective concert style event within a prayerful and joyful atmosphere, in which personal stories of faith will be shared by families from all continents.
  • Sunday 26 August 2018, WMOF2018 will close with a solemn Eucharistic Celebration, that will gather thousands of people from Ireland and all over the world.

The main events of the WMOF2018 will take place in Dublin, at a large conference venue as well as in other venues in and around the city. It is also anticipated that related events, including the hosting of international groups, will take place all over the island of Ireland. All official events will be ticketed. More details of the programme and the venues will be made available on this website closer to the date of the event.

Thousands of families and individuals from all over Ireland and the world are expected to attend. Some people may come together, others might come on their own, others as part of an organisation. Adults, youth and children are all invited to take part.

This important and joyful international gathering will be preceded by a period of catechesis/faith education, which has been prepared by the Church in Ireland for use by local parishes and across the world. The Amoris: Let’s talk Family! Let’s Be Family! Programme is an interactive multimedia platform of catechetical resources that will be available through our website and a dedicated app. It draws largely from the Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’), published by Pope Francis in March 2016, following the Synods on the family held in 2014 and 2015. An official prayerlogoicon and hymn have also been especially prepared for WMOF2018, as key elements of the journey of preparing for the event.


World Meeting of Families is convened by the Holy Father and promoted by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. In September 2016, this new Dicastery brought together the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Pontifical Council for the Family and aspects of the Church’s mission to promote respect for human life in all its stages. The Prefect of the new Dicastery is Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, previously Bishop of Dallas, Texas in the US.


The WMOF is organised by a host diocese chosen by the Pope. For 2018, Pope Francis chose the Archdiocese of Dublin, in Ireland. To fulfil this task, the Archdiocese of Dublin has appointed a team to work with the families, young people, women and men, clergy, religious and others from all over Ireland who will be involved in the planning of the event. Father Timothy Bartlett has been appointed as Secretary General and Anne Griffin as General Manager for WMOF2018.

Parishes can get involved here.

Anitra Rawlins, Marriage and Family Life Coordinator for Clifton Diocese answers your questions:


God, our Father,

We are brothers and sisters in Jesus your Son,

One family, in the Spirit of your love.

Bless us with the joy of love.

Make us patient and kind,

gentle and generous,

welcoming to those in need.

Help us to live your forgiveness and peace.

Protect all families with your loving care,

Especially those for whom we now pray:

[We pause and remember family members and others by name].

Increase our faith,

Strengthen our hope,

Keep us safe in your love,

Make us always grateful for the gift of life that we share.

This we ask, through Christ our Lord,