On Tuesday, Dec-ember 5, the WMOF2018 joined in the worldwide celebrations for International Volunteer Day. This day was designated by the UN General Assembly as a chance for volunteers and organisations to celebrate their efforts, share their values and promote their work among their communities.
The WMOF2018 used the opportunity to call for more volunteers to be part of next year’s family gathering in Dublin. To date just under 1,500 people have signed up as volunteers for the 9th World Meeting of Families but thousands more are needed for this international Faith event.
Because volunteering requires Garda vetting and training, volunteering for WMOF2018 is only available in Ireland. If you are not a resident in Ireland you won’t be able to register as a volunteer but you can still help us spread the word by promoting our volunteer drive.
The WMOF2018 also used International Volunteer Day to recognise and celebrate the contribution of volunteers and to say thank you to all those who have already signed up.
If you are a resident of the island of Ireland, why not consider volunteering for WMOF2018, either as an individual or as part of a group? No previous volunteering experience is necessary and we have roles for everyone, from logistics to liturgical, from translations to transport, among others. For more see www.worldmeeting2018.ie/volunteer.
Let’s talk family, let’s be family during Advent!
This year’s online Advent Calendar from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference is a joint initiative with the World Meeting of Families.
The calendar provides a special focus on family as part of ongoing preparations for the hosting of the World Meeting of Families 2018 in Dublin next August. There are family prayers and suggestions for acts of kindness or charity that family members are being encouraged to take on during the month of December.
The calendar went live simultaneously on the Catholic Bishops and the World Meeting of Families 2018 websites on the first Sunday of Advent.
Launching the 2017 online calendar, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland said: “The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Catholic year and the time of spiritual preparation for the Lord’s coming at Christmas. It is a time of waiting, conversion and hope.
“Advent also prepares us for the second coming of Christ at the end of time. As Christians, we must always be prepared for the coming of the Lord – “You must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do no not expect” [Mt 24:37-44]. Preparation does not happen at once but over time and so each day of Advent amounts to a period of time which allows us to journey and reflect on the joy of the Gospel. Our online calendar is a helpful resource in this journey.”
Archbishop Eamon continued: “Advent offers us a perfect opportunity to reflect on the Gospel of the Family as we continue our preparations for the World Meeting of Families 2018. Pope Francis has described the family as the first school, the nearest hospital and the best place to grow old.
This Advent, many parishes are continuing to reflect on the Amoris Programme and the Amoris: Let’s Talk Family, Let’s Be Family pastoral programme for the WMOF2018. The season of Advent offers all of us a period of time out to reflect on the gifts of our families and what they offer to us in our parishes, schools and in society.
“I particularly welcome the inclusion this year of content from Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) in the 2017 Advent Calendar. I invite everyone during the Advent season to visit our online calendar, which will highlight the themes of love in the family as well as mercy and peace. ‘Let’s Talk Family and Let’s Be Family’ this Advent,” said Archbishop Eamon.
Host A Family Programme
At previous World Meetings a tradition has developed of hosting pilgrims and families travelling from distant places like Peru, the Philippines and Ecuador, in order to defray the cost of travel which can be quite significant.
The presence of families from abroad is an important expression of solidarity with families here in Ireland, coming as they often do from countries with a strong missionary connection with Ireland.
Offers of accommodation are now being sought in family homes in the greater Dublin area for overseas pilgrims and in areas with good public transport links to the city centre.
Applicants interested in hosting pilgrims or a family in their home are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org and place ‘Host a Family’ in the subject line.
WMOF2018 Christmas icon card for family homes
A special Christmas card for family homes is now available from the WMOF2018. The card is based on the ‘Icon of the Holy Family’ – which is currently journeying to each of the 26 dioceses of Ireland – to encourage reflection and prayer in preparation for the World Meeting of Families. More than 700,000 of the cards will be distributed at Christmas Masses across Ireland.
The ‘Icon of the Holy Family’ is accompanied by petition boxes, enabling families to write intentions and prayers. Contemplative communities around Ireland will pray for the intentions collected during the coming year.