Families and clergy from the Diocese of Meath took part in a celebration in Knock on Monday 21 August, marking one year to the day when the World Meeting of Families will commence.

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin.  In his homily, the Archbishop said that “today we begin a programme of catechesis that will lead us to the World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin next year.  However, what we begin today must really be something more.  It is not a twelve-month programme, which will end in twelve months time.  It is a call to renew the Church so that it can enter into a new future: a future in which our Church will attract more and more people to Jesus through the way in which try – however imperfectly – to realize that love of God in the way we live.”

Archbishop Martin addressed recent tragic events in Barcelona and elsewhere, saying that “while in no way rejecting the value of much of modern scientific and human progress, we know well also that our global culture is still far from being a civilization of love”.  He spoke in particular about violence in Dublin city. “Think of that ongoing gangland culture of barefaced killing and vendetta which brings nothing but an empty feeling of power to the unscrupulous” he said. “However, it is a power that does not free and liberate but only leads to its perpetrators being trapped more and more into a continued cycle of violence.  Think of the tragic repetition of stabbings – often for futile reasons – that kills its victims and then ruins the life of its perpetrators.”

The Archbishop emphasised that the the World Meeting of Families, which it is hoped Pope Francis will attend, can provide a positive road map for the renewal of the Church and to strength family life in the face of many pressures.

As part of the Meath diocesan preparation for next year’s events, all clergy and religious along with their parish liturgy teams are invited to attend a training evening in Knightsbrook Hotel Trim on Monday 25 September at 7.30pm.

Fr Philip Gaffney, Meath Diocesan Delegate for the World Meeting of Families, explained that Brenda Drumm from the Catholic Communications Office will chair the session which will provide a presentation on the new  “Amoris” programme of catechesis and evangelisation.

“The training session will give us an overview of the programme and the resources available to parishes to implement the programme” Fr Gaffney said.  Ephrem Feeley, who composed the hymn for the World Meeting of Families, will also address the gathering and introduce the hymn.