From 22 – 26 June, the X World Meeting of Families will be celebrated by Pope Francis in Rome, with churches and dioceses across the globe encouraged to celebrate local events alongside the Meeting in the Vatican. The following article describes the importance of families in our Church, and details how you might wish to celebrate this international event.
When you think of an image that represents the Church, what comes to your mind?
It might be a building, such as the parish you go to, or a church that means something to you, or it might be a person or a group that has supported you in faith. If we look a little longer and go a little deeper, we might come to see that a good image of the Church could be a family.
Family the beginning of faith
The Bible begins with God creating people – men and women – to live in relationship with one another and to bear life. It tells countless stories of families who followed God’s ways. And it tells us that God Himself chose to be born and to grow in a family. Family is the place in which we first encounter God’s love and where we learn how to love others in the spirit of Jesus.
This year, the Church is honouring the fundamental importance of families in a special way. We are continuing the Year of the Family and preparing for the World Meeting of Families in June.
The Year of the Family
On March 19, 2021, the Year of the Family began. This date isn’t only the Solemnity of St Joseph, but it also marked the fifth anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, or “The Joy of Love”.
You might wonder why we need a Year of the Family, and what it might offer for your family today.
This special year strives to ensure all families across the world, in every situation, are heard, valued and reached through evangelisation, catechesis and formation.
The World Meeting of Families
The Year of the Family will officially conclude with the Tenth World Meeting of Families from 23 to 26 June 2022. The World Meeting of Families, which was initiated by Pope St John Paul II in 1994 and is held every three years, brings together families from all around the world. It includes official events in the presence of the Pope, catechesis, a Festival of Families, and a closing Eucharistic celebration at which Pope Francis will deliver his Mandate to Families.
Each World Meeting of Families has its own unique theme. The theme for the Tenth World Meeting of Families is “Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to Holiness”. Given the current global situation, the Meeting will be attended in person by delegates and representatives from Episcopal Conferences and international family movements.
Celebrating my family and the family of the Church
The Diocese of Parramatta is encouraging all parishes to celebrate the World Meeting of Families on 26 June 2022. Contact your parish for details.
There are many resources and tools you can use to grow as a family and to recognise your own place at the heart of the Church.
Our Diocese of Parramatta is proud to launch its Family Hub. This hub is the place where you can access videos, interactive tools, and prayer resources, and where you have the opportunity to share the joys of your family life. It also has important information and updates about the Year of the Family.
The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has many resources aimed to promote the Year of the Family, including videos, catecheses, and prayer materials.
To find the Diocese of Parramatta’s family hub with resources and links to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life go to parracatholic.org/family
This article was originally published in the 2022 Ordinary Time | Winter 2022 edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine. You can pick up your copy of the magazine in parishes, schools and offices across the Diocese of Parramatta now.