By Cian Molloy - 24 December, 2017
When you go to Mass today or tomorrow, there is a good chance that you will get a special WMOF2018 Christmas Card from your parish priest. The card is based on the official Icon of the Holy Family that was commissioned in advance of the ninth World Meeting of Families in Dublin next August.
More than 700,000 copies of the Christmas card have been issued to parishes for distribution to families at Christmas Masses. Copies have also been made available to religious orders and missionary organisations and the Defence Forces chaplaincy has organised for 700 copies to be sent to Irish men and women serving overseas. A further 35,000 copies of the card are being distributed via parishes in England and Wales.
“Pope Francis asked that, in the lead up to WMOF2018, families would be offered an opportunity to reflect on his document Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), said WMOF2018 secretary general Fr Timothy Bartlett. “We currently have a programme of preparation in place for parishes and for families and our beautiful icon of the Holy Family is part of that programme.”
When the doors of the icon are closed, it looks like a house with front doors, but when the doors are opened, we see a depiction of the Holy Family sharing a meal and to the left and right of these there are depictions of the Raising of Jairus’ Daughter and the Wedding Feast of Cana.
At present, the icon is on a tour of Ireland’s 26 diocese. When it is displayed, the icon is accompanied by petition boxes where families can place their written intentions and prayers – these intentions are then passed on to contemplative communities around Ireland where members will pray for those intentions.
“The Icon card also includes the official prayer for next year’s WMOF2018 and is designed in such a way that it can be set up on the mantelpiece and used throughout the year or used as the prayer before the family sits down to Christmas dinner this year,” said Fr Bartlett.
“Every home in the country will have the opportunity to receive one of our Family Icon Christmas cards, which parishes will make available at Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We are delighted with the unprecedented demand for these cards.
“My hope is that families will take the card home from Masses over Christmas and use it as a source of family prayer and reflection as we continue our preparations for WMOF2018.”