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One year to go before the world's Catholics descend on Dublin

Tomorrow bishops and priests will gather at Knock to mark a year before the World Meeting of Families next August.

Pope Francis is cheered by faithful during his weekly general audience at the Vatican earlier this month.
Pope Francis is cheered by faithful during his weekly general audience at the Vatican earlier this month.
Image: L'Osservatore Romano via PA Images

WE’RE ONE YEAR away from Dublin hosting the largest gathering of Catholic Church members – preparations are already underway across the country.

The World Meeting of Families is hosted every three years in a different location – the last one was in Philadelphia in September 2015.

While priests, church-goers and parishes prepare for exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances, there will be four main events happening as part of the celebration.

And even if you’re not religious, it’s probable these will be hard to miss:

  • Firstly, a National Opening of World Meeting of Families will take place simultaneously in the 26 dioceses on the island of Ireland
  • From 21 to 24 August, a three-day Congress will begin; comprising workshops, talks and discussions centred on the theme “Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”
  • A festival and concert will take place on Saturday 25 August 2018. People will share their personal stories of their faith from five continents
  • A huge Eucharistic Celebration will take place on Sunday 26 August.

This year, talks and religious celebrations will take place at Knock from tomorrow to prepare for next year’s event, with one talk entitled ‘Glued to our phones; can we make technology more family friendly?’

‘God’s plan’

The World Meeting of Families comes at a crucial time for the Catholic religion in Ireland, where the ideals of what a family is have changed dramatically.

It’s expected that Pope Francis will visit Ireland as part of the event, so as long as nothing more important crops up.

In his speech on the Dublin meeting earlier this year, the Argentine pontiff asked: “Does the family continue to be good news for today’s world?”

He answered:

I am sure the answer is yes! And this ‘yes’ is firmly based on God’s plan.
The love of God is his ‘yes’ to all creation and at the heart of this latter is man.
It is God’s ‘yes’ to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases; it is God’s ‘yes’ and his commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love.

Read: Vatican confirms Pope Francis to visit Ireland, almost 40 years after John Paul II

Read: Ireland has officially invited Pope Francis over for tea in 2018

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