By Sarah Mac Donald - 10 March, 2016
Every diocese in the country is to establish a team of people who will assist with local planning for the international World Meeting of Families which will take place in Ireland in 2018.
At their Spring General Meeting in Maynooth this week, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin led discussions among the bishops on preparation for the 9th World Meeting of Families which will take place primarily in Dublin, but also throughout Ireland.
Held every three years, and coordinated by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the World Meeting of Families is the largest gathering of Catholic families and it celebrates family life and the Church’s commitment to support families.
Planning for the event in Ireland is now getting underway and the country’s 26 dioceses will now set about establishing a team with specific responsibility for local planning for this international event.
Elsewhere in their meeting, the bishops discussed the recent calls for the removal of Article 40.3.3 from the Constitution through which the State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practical, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
The bishops in their statement on Wednesday evening said they “strongly oppose any weakening of the affirmation of the right to life of the unborn and emphasised that human life, at all stages, deserves the utmost protection, compassion and care”.
On the General Election, they noted that the results have delivered a challenging outcome for the members of the new Dáil as they seek to provide a new government which can offer stable civic leadership rooted in a shared social ethic, economic stability and sustainable growth for our society.
The bishops acknowledged the anxiety of many in Ireland at the fact that there is an uncertain social climate in the country regarding vital sectors of people’s lives, especially regarding protecting the unborn, health, homelessness, unemployment, education, security, our international responsibilities regarding climate change, and our helping to resolve the current refugee and migration crisis.
They asked the faithful to pray for the country’s politicians at this time.
On the issue of the Proposed NCCA curriculum ‘Education about Religions and Beliefs and Ethics’, the bishops encouraged those involved in the life of Catholic schools such as principals, teachers and parents to engage with the NCCA process by 31 March.
A discussion on this issue, in which Bishop Brendan Leahy will participate, will be live-streamed on www.iCatholic.ie on 14 March at 8pm.
Meanwhile, to coincide with Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish language week), the bishops announced the publication later in the year by Veritas of an altar edition of the new Roman Missal in Irish — An Leabhar Aifrinn Rómhánach. They encouraged priests to purchase a copy for use in their parishes.
A collection will be held in parishes across the country on Good Friday to support the persecuted of the Holy Land.
Bishop John McAreavey gave an overview to the IBC of his January visit as a member of the international Holy Land Coordination group, and explained how Christians living there rely heavily on the help of the universal Church.
The bishops also encouraged pilgrims from Ireland to the Holy Land to join with Catholic communities for the celebration of Sunday Mass in their parishes in Jerusalem or in the West Bank.