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Filippo Monteforte | AFP

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 04/02/17

Pope asks families to reflect in lead-up to August 2018 World Meeting

Pope Francis is suggesting that we ask ourselves a couple questions:

Does the Gospel continue to be a joy for the world? And does the family continue to be good news for today’s world?

In a letter to the former bishop of Dallas, now leader of the Vatican’s new section for “Laity, the Family and Life,” the pope says that the answer to these questions is YES!

“I am sure the answer is yes!” Francis said in writing Cardinal Kevin Farrell. “And this ‘yes’ is firmly based on God’s plan.”

The pope described God’s love as a “yes” to creation, which has the human person at its heart.

He said his love is a “yes” to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases.

And that his love is a “yes” that is a “commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love.”

The pope’s letter was an official statement regarding the next World Meeting of Families, to be held in Dublin, Ireland, August 21-26, 2018.

The theme of the meeting is “The Gospel of the Family: joy for the world.”

The pope said:

I wish to underline how important it is for families to ask themselves often if they live based on love, for love and in love. In practice, this means giving oneself, forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, respecting. How much better family life would be if every day we lived according to the words, “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry.” Every day we have the experience of fragility and weakness, and therefore we all, families and pastors, are in need of renewed humility that forms the desire to form ourselves, to educate and be educated, to help and be helped, to accompany, discern and integrate all men of good will. I dream of an outbound Church, not a self-referential one, a Church that does not pass by far from man’s wounds, a merciful Church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as Love, which is Mercy. It is this very mercy that makes us new in love; and we know how much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy.

The World Meeting of Families is held every three years and was last held in the United States — in Philadelphia in 2015.

Follow the World Meeting on Facebook here.

The Meeting is being organized by a Vatican dicastery that Pope Francis established in August of last year, merging the councils for laity and for the family.

Bishop Farrell, the prefect of the dicastery, will be returning to his hometown in leading the World Meeting.

The Dublin-born prelate served as auxiliary bishop of Washington, DC, from 2001 to 2007, and as bishop of Dallas from 2007 to his appointment to the Roman office in August.

Read more:
Energetic Francis Has Exuberant Address for Festival of Families

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