Summary: Dear brothers and sisters: This past weekend I travelled to Ireland for the Ninth World Meeting of Families, whose theme was The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.
Husbands, wives and children from throughout the world came together to witness to God’s loving plan for marriage and family life. I was moved by the testimonies of faith, love, reconciliation and solidarity given by families living in vastly different situations. In my address to the authorities, I spoke of the need to support families in their essential role in society, while in my meetings in the Cathedral and at the great Vigil in Phoenix Park, I stressed the importance of cultivating God’s gift of love and passing on the faith, as it were, “around the family table” in the daily dialogue of grandparents, parents and children.
At Knock Shrine, I commended all families to Our Lady and offered a warm greeting to the people of Northern Ireland. Sadly, the joy of my Visit was clouded by the recognition of the suffering caused by the abuse of minors and young people by some members of the Church. I begged forgiveness for these crimes and encouraged the efforts made to ensure that they are not repeated.
As we look forward to the next World Meeting of Families, to be held in Rome in 2021, let us pray that families everywhere will grow in faith, love and missionary zeal, and truly became, as they are meant to be, “joy for the world”.
Greetings: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from Ghana, South Africa, Korea and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!