By Sarah Mac Donald - 16 July, 2018
In 40 days’ time Pope Francis will arrive in Ireland for the closing days of the World Meeting of Families and the event “has already exceeded all records” Bishop Denis Nulty said in his homily for the RTE broadcast Mass on Sunday.
The Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin explained that Aifreann na Clainne is a Mass to celebrate family, to welcome Pope Francis and to welcome the visiting delegations who will arrive in just over a month’s time.
Some 15,000 overseas pilgrims from 114 countries will spend time in Ireland attending WMOF2018 events at the RDS, as well as the Festival of Families in Croke Park and the Closing Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park.
Sunday’s Mass in the RTE studios in Donnybrook brought together representatives of four choirs: St Michael’s Folk Choir, Portarlington; the Clonaslee Church Choir; the Clonaghadoo Church Choir; and a choir from the Archdiocese of Dublin – In Cantorum Choir from Athy.
The music for Aifreann na Clainne was composed by Tom Conroy from the parish of Portarlington in the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin.
The composer said the theme for the Mass was that “all the singers are joined together as a ‘Family of Choirs’ by their love of music and of sharing their faith through music”.
Speaking on the theme “the price of everything and the value of nothing”, Bishop Nulty reminded viewers that there is no cost for the tickets to see Pope Francis in Knock and the Phoenix Park, but that the tickets held a “deep value”.
Referring to the ordination season, Dr Nulty said that while a priestly ordination no longer tends to make front-page news, it remains a significant milestone in a young man’s life and in the local parish’s story.
However, referring to the Gospel of the day, he acknowledged that some priests today find the going out in pairs challenging, as there are fewer priests to team up with.
“It is so often much more convenient to do things alone, to plough a solitary furrow in a field, and very much to live on one’s own,” he said.
But he warned that “loneliness can be buried in the pursuit of the material and that is a challenge for the priesthood of 2018. The pursuit of the material is miles away from gospel values; companionship is sacrificed at the altar of personal comfort.”
Returning to the World Meeting of Families, the Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin said, “Imagine if all who come to the World Meeting next month, all who attend the Papal events around that global gathering of faith, were truly present to our Church, to our faith communities, what a vibrant Sunday celebration we would have in each and every parish!”
He prayed that all who watched the Mass “as family, as chlann, as pobal will be truly present for the World Meeting, and that you as parish will be enlivened by what you experience”.
Meanwhile, with less than six weeks to go to the World Meeting of Families, which takes place in Dublin from 21 to 26 August, organisers are appealing for one-day volunteers to help out at the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park as stewards and as Holy Communion teams.
For more information visit: www.worldmeeting2018.ie/en/Get-Involved/Volunteer/Volunteer-for-One-Day