The Hyland family have witnessed God perform miracles in their own lives and they can’t wait to share their faith story at the World Meeting of Families (WMF) in Dublin this August.
The family of five from Charmhaven in the diocese of Broken Bay have been selected by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to attend the international gathering as the delegate family from Australia.
Shane and Leanne—both teachers at Catholic schools—and their children Joshua 12, Alyssa 8 and Lachlan 5 will take part in a pilgrimage of Ireland followed by six days in Dublin for the WMF.
“The kids are really excited to go overseas. It’s great just to give them the opportunity to go somewhere and experience something bigger than our little church,” Shane told The Catholic Weekly.
“It’s a real honour and a wonderful opportunity for our family. We’re really elated with happiness, with joy,” Leanne added.
The theme for this year’s WMF running from 21 to 26 August is “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World” and will include keynote speakers, workshops, testimonies, discussions, daily Mass, as well as prayer time and cultural and musical performances. It is the largest international gathering of families in the world and takes place every three years.
The climax of the meeting will be the final Mass which it is hoped will be celebrated by Pope Francis himself.
The Hyland family are very active in their parish St Mary of the Cross MacKillop in Warnervale and have been running family groups there for a number of years. Shane is also involved in prison chaplaincy.
They are looking forward to meeting other Catholic families from around the world and sharing with them how God has transformed their lives.
“Our youngest Lachlan had a very traumatic birth and during his time in intensive care we had a lot of people praying,” Leanne said. “He made a miraculous recovery and doctors can’t believe that he is functioning like a normal little boy.”
“It was God’s love and it was the Holy Spirit. It was beautiful to see the life being brought back into him.”
“Through sharing our stories with other families we can make wonderful connections and find God’s love in that.”
Shane said it was his wife’s prayers that eventually brought him back to the faith and he would like to give a message of hope to other families at the WMF. “I think it’s important for people to know that whatever situation they’re in, that the Church is there for them. And that with their faith, there’s hope in any situation.”
Twelve-year-old Joshua said he was looking forward to “maybe meeting the Pope and meeting other families”.
For more information about the World Meeting of Families 2018: www.worldmeeting2018.ie