The organisers of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin next year are “very hopeful and optimistic” that Pope Francis will attend the event.
Fr Timothy Bartlett, the Secretary General for the World Meeting of Families, told The Irish Catholic that the Pontiff “has repeatedly said he wants to be with us and so therefore, we’re planning provisionally on the possibility that he will be with us”.
“However, you still require a formal announcement that that will actually take place. My understanding is that can be anywhere from 8-6 months out from the event. But that’s ultimately totally in the hands of the Holy Father himself and the Holy See. Obviously, there is any number of issues or considerations that he would want to consider before making an absolute commitment to coming, but we remain very hopeful and optimistic,” he said.
“We have to plan for all possibilities, which is one of the many things that makes the planning obviously challenging. So, as they say, we wait in joyful hope, for a formal announcement in due course.”
The one-year programme of preparation for WMOF2018 will be launched at Knock Shrine next Monday August 21, on the Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady in Knock. The WMOF2018 formal prayer will also be revealed at the launch and the Icon of the Holy Family written by the Redemptoristine Sisters will be unveiled and anointed at Mass in the Basilica at 3pm, after which it will begin its journey around the dioceses of Ireland with a petition box for prayers.
A programme of structured reflection for parishes will go online on August 21 and hard copies will be sent to parishes across the country over the following weeks.
The venue for the pastoral congress is also expected to be announced.
*A full interview and coverage of the WMOF2018 launch in Knock will be included in next week’s edition of The Irish Catholic.