Pope Francis has asked dioceses around the world to make it possible for every family to take part in the World Meeting of Families by holding local celebrations during the gathering in Rome in June next year.
“After being postponed for a year due to the pandemic, the desire to meet again is great,” the Pope said in a video message July 2.
In the past, he said, the World Meeting of Families “was perceived as being something remote, at most followed on television” but “unknown to the majority of families”.
With questions still present about how the coronavirus pandemic will impact global travel and large international meetings next year, Pope Francis said there is “an opportunity provided by providence to create a worldwide event that can involve all the families that would like to feel part of the ecclesial community”.
The theme of the 2022 gathering is: “Family love: A vocation and a path to holiness.”
Rome will be the main venue, the Pope said, and bishops’ conferences and international Catholic organisations will be invited to send delegates involved in family ministry to Rome for “the Festival of Families, the pastoral congress” and the concluding Mass.
At the same time, the Pope said, “each diocese can be the focal point for a local meeting for its families and communities. In this way, everyone will be able to participate, even those who cannot come to Rome”.
Pope Francis asked dioceses to be “dynamic, active and creative in organising this with the families in harmony with what will be taking place in Rome. This is a wonderful opportunity to devote ourselves with enthusiasm to family ministry with spouses, families and pastors together.”
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, said the World Meeting of Families continues to grow and attract more families from around the world, “bringing enrichment with their languages, cultures and experiences”.
The gatherings, he said, “have been an eloquent sign of the beauty of the family for the church and for all humanity. We need to continue on this path, seeking to involve more and more families in this beautiful initiative.”