(Vatican Radio) The Vatican recently published the letter that Pope Francis has written to the organizers of the next World Meeting of Families, which will be held in Dublin, August 21-26, 2018.
The Meeting is scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland from August 21st to 26th 2018 on the theme 'The Gospel of the Family: joy to the world".
In the letter addressed to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the new Vatican office for Laity, Family and Life, the Pope says he hopes the Meeting will be a way for families to deepen their reflection on the document 'Amoris Laetitia' which he wrote at the conclusion of the two recent synods on the family.
At the press conference, the cardinal stressed the importance of preparations that will take place in parishes and dioceses ahead of the event. This catechesis must involve lay people as well as clergy, he said, reaching out especially to individuals and families who have grown away from the Church.
"As Pope Francis said we need to be a Church that goes out to the peripheries of society to those people who don't listen to us at the present moment, to those families who have lost their way or who do not go to church any more".
Also present at the press conference was the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin who highlighted the complex combination of faith and secularization which characterizes his country today. He said the meeting will be a challenge for the archdiocese but also an opportunity to underline the importance of family life for Irish society as a whole.
Archbishop Martin said the Church must learn to accompany families and address the real day-to-day difficulties which he hears about from those in his own archdiocese:
"They'd be talking about work, leisure, homelessness, how to make ends meet, how government subsidies are being cut back, how they'd have sleepless nights worrying about their teenage children - these are the challenges they have to be supported in so that they can carry out this essential role in society and that people really give them the support and confidence to do that".
Both leaders hope the meeting will not be a one-off event, but rather a chance for the whole Church to deepen its reflection on the Pope's words in 'Amoris Laetitia', seeing the family as a vital resource for sharing the message of God's love with the world.
Neither of them would confirm the Pope's presence at the Meeting next year, but they did share their hopes that he'll be attending the event - a hope also expressed in the promotional video for the World Meeting of Families.
Read the full text of Pope Francis' letter