A workshop was held in St Mary’s Parish last Thursday 7 June to offer information and resources to parishes as part of their journey toward the World Meeting of Families in August.

Fr Philip Gaffney (chair of the diocesan organising committee) introduced the evening and outlined the opportunities for parishes to support the development of faith in families during the coming months. He encouraged participants to register for the events in the RDS on Wednesday 22 August and to make early booking of tickets for the Papal Mass when they come available on 25 June.

Hannah Evans (WMOF office in Dublin) told participants that the RDS Congress events from Wednesday – Friday before the Pope’s visit has an estimated participation of over 20,000 people each day and is one of the highest attendances at any WMOF to date. She also highlighted the great amount of young families who are participating from abroad and the great work of host families in the towns around County Dublin, Meath and Kildare.

Fr Robert McCabe outlined some of the catechetical opportunities for parishes and thanked the 250 singers from around the diocese of Meath who have volunteered to assist in the Mass in the RDS and the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park.

Ephrem Feeley (Ashbourne parish) rehearsed the congregation in his hymn “A Joy for all the Earth” which has been chosed as the the theme hymn for WMOF 2018 and which is being rehearsed by the diocesan choir and many parish and school groups at this time. Ephrem also led the congregational singing during the celebration of Solemn Evening Prayer which led the attendance into a time of prayer and reflection.

Msgr Seán Heaney VG presided at Evening Prayer during which the icon of the Holy Family was reverenced with incense. A joyful procession of families from the Nigerian, Polish, Filipino and Indian communities presented flowers before the icon of the Holy Family and the diocesan family of parishes joined in praying and singing the psalms and praying for the success of the World Meeting of Families.

Prayers were also included for Hannah and her colleagues in the organising committee.

The procession, prayers, music and Solemn Evening Prayer which was led by Msgr Heaney will next be celebrated at local level in the deaneries of the diocese on Tuesday 21 August.

The evening concluded at 8:45pm with refreshments in glorious sunshine in the grounds of St Mary’s.

The next event on the WMOF calendar is the visit of the icon of the Holy Family to St Mary’s Church, Navan and to the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar.

More details along with information on the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park and further updates will be made available on http://www.dioceseofmeath.ie/wmof2018