World Meeting of Families & Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland The Joy of the Gospel
The WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES took place in Dublin this August and interweaving with it, the Oblate family found its own voice and place in connecting with the one Body and one family in Christ.
The Oblates take part
Yes, on a beautiful Friday evening of the 24th August ’18, the four Oblate parishes in Dublin were joined by a large contingent from a Polish Oblate parish accompanied by Fr. Lucas OMI.
We came together to share in an evening prayer and social get together at the parish church of Our Lady of the Wayside, Blue bell (An Cloigín). Fr. Leo OMI, Fr. Eduardo OMI, Sr. Anne Ryan and a few others had co-ordinated and encouraged people to come from the various Oblate parishesand give accommodation to the Polish group.
The prayer was facilitated by a small team comprising that of Fr. Eduardo, Margaret, Anushka (speaking in Polish) and myself. Special efforts were made to translate aspects of the prayer pamphlet into Polish. The choir comprised members from the four Oblate parishes and they really sang their hearts out with joy.
Sr. Lumay and her team had beautifully decorated the altars and focal point. After the time of prayer, we all partook in the shared ‘Agape’ feast as there was a nice spread of food and drink. We had a lovely social get together as entertainment was provided with Irish dancing, musicians singing in various languages and the outgoing Poles, Irish, Mexicans, Indians, Sri Lankans and other communities coming together through the evening!
There was a really felt sense of an awesome unifying family spirit to the evening. It really brought out our theme that “together as this diverse Oblate family, we celebrate being one Body and one family in Christ”.
Meanwhile, on saturday, 25th August at the “Basketball Hall” in the Inchicore parish of Mary Immaculate, there was a gathering of families from different countries.
It was a day of celebration, fun and activity especially aimed for young children. There were bouncy castles, face painting and an excellent BBQ, and we even had an ice cream van!
Many thanks to Padraig and everyone who helped to prepare this great day as a good day was had by all. Coincidentally, across the country, similar events took place in local communities.
The highlight was of course the arrival of our Holy Father, Pope Francis to the streets of Dublin when the crowds came out to welcome and meet him. Also, he formally met with the Irish Bishops, Clergy and Religious, the Taoiseach – Leo Varadkar, the Irish President Michael D. Higgins & other Politicians; Fr. Kevin’s homeless project plus the survivors of abuse and other groups. Fittingly, there was a concert at Croke Park which had big names like Andrea Boccelli, River Dance and many others.
Pope Francis’ entrance into the arena had ‘raised the roof‘ and the energy levels shot high in the stadium. I did feel sorry for the poor musician singing Leonard Cohen’s song: “The Anthem” as he tried his level best to hold together the energetic atmosphere and continue his singing! In his speech, Pope Francis made reference to the five families who shared their moving stories and he threw light into their life situations.
His message focused on the words: Please, Thank you, Sorry and he encouraged us all to keep using these simple words and living them in our daily practice of living! The Holy Father also incorporated a short trip to Knock Shrine, Co. Mayo which had also drawn in large number of crowds!
At the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) centre in Dublin, thousands were registering for various workshops put on for the WMoF. People had the option to choose from a variety of topics related to the building up of the family.
I encountered a big group of Polish families, some Oblates and members from our Oblate Lourdes pilgrimage and upon speaking to them, I got to hear about their enriching experiences.
There was a prayer tent which had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and also prayer spaces for people to have personal reflection time. Personal Testimonies were shared by a few couples.
In the huge halls, there were stalls where various Religious & Diocesan Orders promoted their vision; there was a Radio station Radio Maria doing on-line live coverage of the events and yes, there was even an eco-friendly stall with 3D show with regards to the green wall of Africa being built with support from a religious order (Society of African Missions). Also, some corporate businesses were demonstrating their latest technology with regards to Spirituality & Social Justice matters.
One of the latest gadgets and developments demonstrated was on how by using a head phone set which sent tranquility sounds of rain forests and it touched your brain waves indicating if your mind was currently calm. Also, opportunities were available to meet with a prayer guide.
Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park
On that Sunday, 26th August, crowds came from near and far walked to join in the celebration of the Mass at the Phoenix park by Pope Francis. Yes, even though it was a damp, dreary day, nevertheless, peoples’ spirits were raised high once again when Pope Francis was brought into the park by his Pope mobile.
His introduction to the Penitential rite was soul stirring as he urged us to pray for our Church to seek repentance for the times when our eyes were closed off to abuse of any kind. So, in conclusion, to say that it was a very moving experience for all who braved the elements to get to the Phoenix park and the World meeting of Families had a fitting end.
Yes, do mark your calendars as the next WMoF is going to take place in Rome 2021!
Partners in Mission Team
You can read and watch all the pastoral talks at the WMoF here.
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