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Celebrating vocation of families


The gift of families to the Church will be celebrated at the 10th World Meeting of Families (WMOF) being held in Rome later this month.

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With a theme of ‘Family Love: Vocation and Way to Holiness’, the gathering aims to highlight ‘family love as a vocation and as a way of holiness, to understand and share the profound meaning of family relationships in daily life’.

Postponed a year due to the pandemic, the meeting will run from June 22-26 and be attended by representatives of the Church from around the globe. Pope Francis has asked that dioceses make it possible for every family to participate in the WMOF event at the local level.

In the Adelaide Archdiocese, the Family Faith Formation, Office for Worship and Pastoral Services teams have produced several resources and made suggestions for ways parishes and their schools to celebrate the event together.

They are encouraging parishes to gather as a ‘parish family’ for a morning tea, barbecue or soup supper sometime over the WMOF weekend. Other suggestions include inviting families to a tour of the local parish church, its facilities, services and any outreach opportunities to connect and promote a ‘sense of belonging’ for those who may not be familiar with them.

A series of resources, including the Amoris Laetitia family videos developed by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life are available, as is a website which provides resources in several languages.

A prayer book for young families prepared by the Family Faith Formation team will be distributed to parishes and schools as a gift to families.

In a letter to the faithful supporting WMOF, Vicar General Fr Dean Marin said while Rome would be the main venue for the event it was hoped each diocese, including the Archdiocese of Adelaide, ‘can celebrate the gift of family life alongside those attending the international gathering’.

‘This is a great opportunity to engage young families in your parish and invite families from your surrounding area and schools to participate in a church gathering,’ he wrote.

Sr Jenny Seal fdnsc from the Family Faith Formation team said it was wonderful to recognise the important role families play in faith formation.

“Family is a vocation, it is a call to nurture life and develop life and love life,” she said.

“The World Meeting of Families is about nurturing families in their environment, in their home, looking at what are their needs.

“From the faith perspective it is helping to provide support to parents, it’s about relationship – we want families to connect with each other and deepen their relationship.”

The international gathering of families was initiated by Pope St John Paul II in 1994, in response to the International Year of the Family declared by the United Nations that year. The WMOF has since been held every three years in different places around the world.

The event starts and concludes with an international Theological-Pastoral Congress, in the presence of the Pope, along with a vigil and Festival of Families and a great final Eucharistic celebration.

The WMOF will precede the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly to be held on Sunday July 24. Pope Francis has chosen the theme ‘in old age they will still bear fruit’ (Psalm 92:15) to celebrate this day.

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Heavenly Father,

We come before You to praise You and to thank You for the great gift of the family.

We pray to You for all families
consecrated by the Sacrament
of Matrimony.

May they rediscover each day
the grace they have received,
and as small domestic Churches,
may they know how to witness to Your presence and to the love with which Christ loves the Church.

We pray to You for all families faced with difficulty and suffering
caused by illness or circumstances of which only You know.

Sustain them and make them aware of the path to holiness
upon which You call them,
so that they might experience
Your infinite mercy and find new ways to grow in love.

We pray to You for children
and young people: may they encounter You and respond
joyfully to the vocation You
have in mind for them;

We pray for parents and grandparents: may they be
aware that they are signs of the fatherhood and motherhood of
God in caring for the children who, in body and spirit,
You entrust to them; and for the experience of fraternity that the family can give to the world

Lord, grant that each family
might live their specific
vocation to holiness in the
Church as a call to become missionary disciples, in the
service of life and peace,
in communion with our priests, religious, and all vocations
in the Church.


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