The ecumenical potential of next year’s World Meeting of Families (WMOF) was highlighted at a recent gathering of Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops, a Church spokesman has said.
The August 2018 meeting is widely expected to see Pope Francis visiting Ireland, both to take part in the major Church event, and to ‘complete’ St John Paul II’s visit by visiting the North, something that sectarian violence and security concerns in 1979 had made impractical.
The bishops’ meeting, which considered challenges faced by the Churches on both sides of the border, also considered such issues as education, the plight of refugees and migrants, engagement with young people, and current social issues.
Thirteen bishops – seven Catholic and six Anglican – took part in the gathering, the sixth annual one to take part in light of the recommendation of the International Anglican / Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission that bishops from both Churches should regularly meet to discuss common concerns.
“All the participants said the experience was very valuable as they shared insightful perspectives that engendered renewed commitment to promoting the Kingdom of God,” the spokesman said, noting that the meeting had been marked by “positivity and candour”, and that time was also taken at the meeting for shared prayer, reflection and informal encounter.