By Cian Molloy - 26 February, 2018
It is an honour for Ireland to have been specially chosen by Pope Francis to host the World Meeting of Families in August, said Bishop John Buckley, welcoming the World Meeting of Families Icon of the Holy Family to Cork and Ross last week.
“This gift comes to us because the Holy Father understands our tradition of family life and mission in reaching out to others in faith,” said the Bishop in his homily at the Cathedral of Ss Mary and Anne. “It is our prayer that Pope Francis will come to share in the event with us to renew the importance of family.”
Noting that the World Meeting of Families event, which is held every three years, was first initiated by Saint Pope John Paul II, Bishop Buckley quoted the Polish-born Pontiff, who said: “The future of humanity passes by way of the family. The family is sacred ground. Children never truly leave the family – they may leave home, they may leave the city and even our country but they never leave their family. Our schools can have great teachers who teach our children well, but the greatest influence in their lives will always be their family – parents and grandparents.”
The Church reaches out to all families promoting Christian marriage, said Bishop Buckley, and the Church itself is a model for marriage with the relationship of husband and wife mirroring the relationship of Christ to his Church.
He added: “Every family is a domestic Church, the first school of prayer. Parents hand on prayer in the home to their children. We have a strong Irish tradition of family prayer in the home; it was what sustained us in times of persecution and hardship. Prayer unites the family and we all know the saying – the family that prays together, stays together.
“The upcoming World Meeting of Families will lead to a great renewal of family prayer. We will be joined by families from across the globe.”
The Bishop noted in particular that a Cork native, Bishop David O’Connell, who serves as an auxiliary in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest Catholic diocese in the US, will be leading “a plane full of pilgrims to Ireland for this special celebration of faith in August”.
And Dr Buckley concluded his homily by encouraging all present to remember the inspiring words of Pope Francis who said: “The home is the nearest hospital, the first school for the young and the best home for the elderly.”