Dublin, Ireland, was chosen by Pope Francis to host the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) from August 21-26, 2018, guided by the theme “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.”
In choosing The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World, as the theme for the ninth World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis invited us to reflect on his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family. Held every three years, this major international event brings together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect upon the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church.
Prior to the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland, a three day Pastoral Congress was held in Dublin. World Meeting of Families 2018 was a joyful and enriching occasion for adults, young people and children. During the five days, there was time to meet and share, pray and reflect, grow in faith and love, celebrate, as well as gather strength to continue the journey of life. The location for the event included an exhibition hall and we decided to take a number of stands beside and opposite each other to create a Vincentian Family space.
The World meeting of Families event provided us with a unique opportunity to begin to realise the third aim which we set out when we first came together, namely, to raise the profile of the Vincentian Charism in Ireland. Our display stands were placed together and we were described by one passer-by as St. Vincent’s Street! The space invited people to trace the story of the Vincentian Family in Ireland from the AIC foundation to the most recent foundation the Vincentian Lay Missionaries (VLM). One section shows the Timeline depicting the development of the Family worldwide over the centuries.
In Ireland the Vincentian Family includes:
- The International Association of Charity (AIC)
- Congregation of the Mission (CM)
- Daughters of Charity (DC)
- Society of St Vincent de Paul
- Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM)
- Holy Faith Sisters (CHF)
- Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice.
- Depaul Ireland
- Vincentian Lay Missionaries (VLM)
At our Vincentian Family meeting attended by Sr. Marge Clifford, DC, the International Advancement Co-ordinator, from the international Vincentian Family Office in Philadelphia, we evaluated our experience of taking part in the three day Pastoral Congress at the WMOF. The following words/phrases were shared…
Great co-operation … A great Spirit … It gave us an identity brought us together as a group
The visual impact was very strong … Great atmosphere … A unifying experience
Networking making connections -People learning that all of our organisations were connected
Friendliness an enriching experience … People really wanted one to one engagement
Questions to ponder:
Could we have had a more specific focus?
How could we better utilise technology or did we need it at all?
Sr. Marge shared with us about the role of the Vincentian Family Office and their role and purpose in helping National Councils to grow, to develop and to stay connected to the International Family. A question and answer session followed afterwards. We thanked Sr. Marge for coming to visit us and how great it was to have her with us!
Sr. Claire McKiernan, DC