By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
The IX World Meeting of Families begins with the celebration of Evening Prayer in Dublin and similar celebrations throughout Ireland’s other 25 dioceses on Tuesday. Once the WMOF has been officially opened, the thousands of families from around the world will have the possibility of participating in the 3-Day Pastoral Congress.
Who’s speaking at the WMOF?
Hannah Evans, Speakers Manager for WMOF 2018, explained the program in an interview on WMOF TV that there are about 65 “workshops, panelists, major panels, discussions, single presentations” being offered each day. “Hundreds of speakers are coming from all around the world,” she says, which “means that we are really getting an experience of the universal Church”. 91 of the speakers are laywomen, 65 are laymen, and 44 are clergy. “The highest group we have are couples presenting within the program,” Ms. Evans says.
Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus, Word on Fire Bishop Robert Barron, Leigh and Steve Baumann of Retrouvaille International, Myanmar’s Cardinal Maung Bo, parents Marian and Vincent Bradley from Northern Ireland, Dr Marco Brusati from the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, BBC journalist and broadcaster Adrian Chiles are among the many people who will bring their knowledge and passion for family life to the WMOF 3-day Pastoral Congress.
What are the topics being discussed at the WMOF?
Topics include conflict management and resolution as a couple and marriage preparation for couples. A cooking class with Iron Chef winner Fr Leo Patalinghug. “That just teaches us that the kitchen is the center of family life,” Hannah Evans says. Technology – and how families use it, its positive and negative factors, and how it affects families is another theme.
Universal appeal of WMOF
Ms Evans adds that WMOF “is absolutely for everybody.” All the topics that are included in the program “are things that face everybody regardless of their faith, their creed…. For that very reason it’s accessible and is relevant for everybody”. In the end, she hopes that those attending will “feel strengthened, more knowledgeable and that they have been given some tools to be able to bring home and to apply to their own family life".