By Francesca Merlo
The Church of Rome is preparing to welcome delegates and participants to the 10th World Meeting of Families. The diocesan community accepted Pope Francis’, and considers this appointment to be “a precious opportunity to dedicate ourselves with enthusiasm to family ministry: spouses, families, and pastors together”.
The 10th World Meeting of Families will take place from 22-26 June 2022. The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this event is: “Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness.”
The meeting will be organized by the Diocese of Rome and the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life. It was initially scheduled for the fifth anniversary of Amoris Laetitia and the fourth anniversary of Gaudete et Exsultate—i.e. in the year 2021—but it has been moved to 2022.
As the announcement from the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life reads: “On the fifth anniversary of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and three years after the promulgation of Gaudete et Exsultate, this is intended to highlight family love as a vocation and as a way of holiness, so as to understand and share the profound and salvific meaning of family relationships in daily life.”
A press conference at the Holy See Press Office on Thursday presented the upcoming meeting with, amongst others, interventions made by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.
Cardinal Farrell noted that in contrast to previous Meetings, “this edition will be a ‘multi-centre’ and ‘widespread’ event in dioceses all over the world.”
It will always be a worldwide event, he explained, but this time “it will be lived in the local churches present everywhere in the different continents.” This new modality must not be seen as a limitation, said Cardinal Farrell, but rather as “a beautiful opportunity to bring the families of every parish and diocese in the world together around their bishop.” In this way, he added, it will not only be those who can afford to travel who will participate, but everyone.
The importance of family involvement
Cardinal Farrell then went on to explain the importance of involving more families in order to “give a new impetus to family ministry.” “Families cannot just be seen as a ‘soil to be irrigated,’ passively receiving speeches, teachings or pastoral initiatives ‘dropped from above’,” he said. Instead, “they are the ‘seed’ that can make the world fertile! They are the evangelisers!”
The Cardinal noted that, based on this premise, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life “will encourage the bishops to adhere to the Holy Father’s invitation and plan well both the path of preparation towards the event and the implementation of the diocesan initiatives.”
Amoris Laetitia Family Year
Cardinal Farrell then said that the World Meeting of Families will conclude the “Amoris Laetitia Family Year.” Over the past year, he continued, “we have noticed that there is a desire in many families to walk together in this very difficult time for everyone.” Families want to be accompanied and supported, and to ‘feel like the Church,’ stressed the Cardinal.
Finally, Cardinal Farrell urged all present to “not miss this opportunity to consolidate our initiatives, and also to launch new ones, together with the families entrusted to our care.”