By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
The children of families attending the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) in Dublin, Ireland, have been enjoying their own special programme during the 3-day Pastoral Congress.
Children ages 4-12 attending the WMOF have been enjoying drama, arts & crafts, prayer, catechesis, Godly play time, puppet theatre, workshops—all created with their needs in mind. Various Bishops of Ireland have been providing the catechesis around the themes “Families of faith, and the importance of saying ‘Please’ ”, “God loves me, the importance of saying ‘Sorry’ ”, “Hope and Happiness, the fruits of saying ‘Thank you’ ”. These themes incorporate the theme of the day, along with Pope Francis’ recommendation to families to include “please”, “I’m sorry”, and “thank you” in their daily interactions with each other.
Hannah Evans, Speakers Manager for WMOF 2018, said in an interview on WMOF TV that this separate children’s program “lends an element of freedom for parents to be able to attend other workshops so they don’t have to stay with their children”.
Teens between the ages of 13 and 17 have their own programme as well. They’ve been enjoying drama, discussions, ‘On the Couch’ panels and workshops also on the themes of Faith, Hope and Love. Hannah Evans says that workshop topics range from “social justice to prayer, Christian meditation… Also things about mental health as well which is a big thing for teenagers. It’s a big issue facing teenagers these days and how to manage their own mental health”.
Fr Leo Patalinghug provided a workshop on day 2 called Spiritual Combat. He combined his extensive background in martial arts in this interactive presentation teaching teens how to fight evil and “break through” the cycles of sin and hate in the world. Another priest, Fr Michael Remery, spoke about “Tweeting with God”!
In the evening they have had the opportunity to attend concerts, including one by internationally renowned Christian Contemporary band Rexband.