Plenary voices: Erin Gillard

A Plenary delegate calls on every diocese to take up and respond to the Pope's call to celebrate families, reminding members that building up the domestic Church is vital to the future of the whole Church

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A woman prays during the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families with Pope Francis in Philadelphia in 2015. Photo: CNS, Brian Snyder, Reuters

Our Catholic Church is a family of families. We are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunties, cousins, grandparents. All united by the bond of love. The love of the family is also the love of the Church. Every three years the Catholic Church brings together the largest international gathering of families for the World Meeting of Families. Due to the current global situation and the ongoing realties of COVID-19, Pope Francis is calling for the 10th World Meeting of Families in 2022 to be celebrated in ALL dioceses throughout the world, rather than in one location.

Given that we are hearing a resounding call from the Holy Spirit to accompany and form our domestic church, our families, I call upon every Diocese, parish, Catholic Education Office, faith community and movement to take up Pope Francis’ call to prepare for and host a local meeting for the upcoming 10th World Meeting of Families which takes place from 22-26 June 2022 to celebrate family life and reflect on the importance of family in our lives, regardless of our vocational calling. These localised events could be as wide and as diverse in nature just as is the nature of families.

Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to celebrate the final Mass for the World Meeting of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia in 2015. Photo: CNS, Lisa Johnston, St Louis Review

The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this event is: “Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness”.

Taking up this opportunity would be a wonderful way to conclude the “Amoris Laetitia Family Year” which draws to an end at this meeting. Given that the event falls within one week of the Second Assembly of the Plenary Council, I feel many fruits will come from this and these will help guide our discernment and decision making at the next Assembly.

Let us embrace this opportunity!