NEW YEAR MESSAGE 2018
Bishop Leo O’Reilly

This year we will celebrate the World Meeting of Families from 21st to 26th August. The event will begin with a celebration in each diocese on 21st August and will continue with a three-day Congress in Dublin, followed by a Festival of Families on Saturday 25th. We hope that this unique event in the life of the Church in Ireland will be crowned by a visit of Pope Francis. If so, it will conclude with a solemn celebration of the Eucharist in the Phoenix Park, presided over by the Holy Father.
This major international event brings together families from around the world to celebrate, pray and reflect on the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church. We look forward to welcoming Pope Francis to Ireland and being touched by his infectious joy and enthusiasm, as he speaks to the theme of the World Meeting: The Gospel of the Family, Joy for the World. You can register for the World Meeting of Families by going to the official website where you will find all the information you will need: www.worldmeeting2018.ie
Over the months ahead there will be a programme of preparation for the World Meeting of Families in parishes and schools in our diocese. I encourage all who can to take part in the programme. Every family and every individual can prepare by saying daily the Official Prayer for the World Meeting of Families (below). Copies of the icon for the World Meeting are being distributed throughout the diocese and I encourage families to take one home, put it in a visible place in the house and try to make it the focus of family prayer. If you have young children, try to have a family meal around the table often, where you are conscious of sharing, not just food, but love as well. It’s an opportunity to talk to each other, share what’s happening in your lives and build up the bonds of love within your family.
As we look forward to the World Meeting of Families and prepare for it in our homes, schools and parishes, I pray that our preparation and participation in this unique event will, in the words of the official prayer, increase our faith, strengthen our hope, and keep us safe in the love of God.
I wish you all a very happy and peaceful New Year.

OFFICIAL FAMILY PRAYER FOR WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES 2018

God, our Father,
We are brothers and sisters in Jesus your Son,
One family, in the Spirit of your love.
Bless us with the joy of love.
Make us patient and kind, gentle and generous,
welcoming to those in need.
Help us to live your forgiveness and peace.
Protect all families with your loving care,
Especially those for whom we now pray:

[We pause and remember family members and others by name].

Increase our faith, Strengthen our hope,
Keep us safe in your love,
Make us always grateful for the gift of life that we share.
This we ask, through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Mary, mother and guide, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, father and protector, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, pray for us.

30 December 2017