Cast of thousands to lead global celebration of families in Croke Park

19 Jul 2018

  • WMOF2018 Festival of Families to feature The Riverdance Troupe, Nathan Carter, Dana Masters, Daniel O’Donnell, Celine Byrne, The Begley Family, Holy Family Deaf Choir & Deaftones, and Patrick Bergin
  • Five families to share their stories with Pope Francis

Families from 116 countries are set to be entertained at the WMOF2018 Festival of Families event in the presence of Pope Francis. Organisers have today released details of the programme and some of the artists who will line out in Croke Park on Saturday 25 August.

The Festival of Families is choreographed as a celebration of family life. It will be one of the highlights of the WMOF2018. The line-up announced today includes a cast of thousands and features community based artists as well as some well-known local and international artists including Nathan Carter, The Riverdance Troupe, Dana Masters, Daniel O’Donnell, The Begley Family, The Priests, The Holy Family Deaf Choir and Deaftones, Celine Byrne, Paddy Moloney, Bridgie and Missy Collins and Moya Brennan.

As well as these artists the cast for the Festival of Families will include an orchestra in excess of 50 musicians; over 700 Irish, Sean Nós and contemporary dancers, including 500 from Irish dance schools across the country; a 1,000 strong choir; 100 community groups, and 300 flag bearers. More acts will be announced closer to the event.

The selection of themes and artists featured in the event reflect many of the priorities in the ministry of Pope Francis including homelessness and those on the margins; migrants and refugees; care for our common home and the importance of the family.

The WMOF2018 has also announced Tyrone Productions as its creative partner on the event with Ruán Magan as Creative Director and David Brophy as Musical Director.

Pope Francis will deliver an address to the families in the stadium and will hear five family testimonies. The testimonies will be shared by families from Ireland, Canada, India, Iraq and Africa. The themes of the family testimonies will focus on: forgiveness in family; strength in family; hope in family life; the intergenerational nature of families today and the impact of technology on family life. Pope Francis will meet each of these families and hear their stories.

Speaking at today’s launch in Croke Park, the President and Host of WMOF2018, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said, “One of the great attractions of Pope Francis is how he himself shows how the role of Pope can be unique in bringing the Christian message into our complex world.  He shows us that he can live in a world where faith seems marginal and yet manages to touch hearts.  He finds ways in which he can win hearts for what the teaching of Jesus involves, not through imposing and judging, but through winning and attracting.  That is his real talent.” 

Also unveiled today at the launch was the stage design for the event which will include a circle of encounter space where families will sit with Pope Francis to watch some of the presentations on stage.

Notes to Editors:

The Visit of Pope Francis to Ireland for WMOF2018

Pope Francis will make a pastoral visit to Ireland for the 9th World Meeting of Families which is taking place in Dublin from 21 – 26 August. In addition to the Festival of Families the WMOF2018 has at its heart the following key moments:

  • National Opening of World Meeting of Families which will take place simultaneously in the twenty-six dioceses on the island of Ireland on Tuesday 21 August;
  • A three-day Pastoral Congress which will take place in the RDS, Dublin from 22-24 August and will include entail a joyful and reflective programme of workshops, talks and discussions centred on the theme: “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.  The Congress will also offer an engaging programme for young people to include faith and fun activities for children;
  • A visit to Knock Shrine, Ireland’s National Marian Shrine, where he will pray for families and for the World Meeting of Families on Sunday 26 August;
  • The Closing Mass for WMOF2018 which will involve 500,000 pilgrims from Ireland and around the world in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on Sunday 26 August.
  • Photographs from today’s launch will be sent shortly to all news desks and are available from Liam MacArdle on Tel: + 353 (0) 1 4866676; Mob +44 7900107362 or by email to [email protected]
  • Biographies on the various acts and artists are available on request.

For media contact:

World Meeting of Families 2018: Brenda Drumm 00 353 (0) 87 310 4444 and Sinéad Brennan 00 353 (0) 1 567 6844.