“If priests, married couples and laity work together – not one without the other, but together – we can achieve the mission of the Church” – Deirdre O’Rawe

24 Jun 2022

  • Irish participate at the Pastoral Congress of the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome which today addresses impact of social media in the home

Delegates from across Ireland took part in the first day of the Pastoral Congress which is an integral part of 10thWorld Meeting of Families taking place in Rome until next Sunday 26 June. 

The Pastoral Congress sees delegates from 120 countries listening to the experiences of family and experts on a range of topics.  Presentations for the first day of the Pastoral Congress heard about support needed by couples in the early years of marriage; the role of grandparents and the elderly in families; the important relationship between couples and priests in the parish; adoption and foster care; the role of fatherhood and motherhood; young and old on the synodal journey; and, the important place of forgiveness in the family. 

Speaking after day one of the Pastoral Congress, Ms Deirdre O’Rawe, Regional Director of Accord Northern Ireland Marriage Care Service, said, “There was a great variety of views in terms of the pastoral care of the elderly and the mission of the family.  What struck me today, especially as we mark the sixth anniversary of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on love in the family, was something that the Pope says in it, namely, that no family drops down from Heaven perfectly formed!  In all of the presentations shared so far, this reality spoke to me as does the need for us as a Church community – as family, as parishes and as diocesan agencies – to work collaboratively for the common good.  The other take away from the presentations was around the whole area of co-responsibility: the need for the priest and married couples and the laity generally to work together – not one without the other, but together so that we can achieve the mission of the Church.” 

Also attending the presentations in Rome is Derry priest Father Colm O’Doherty, Parish Priest of Lifford, Co Donegal, who said, “It is enlightening to hear the stories of people from such diverse backgrounds on how they are living as family in their own situation.  It made me realise that what we hear of the joys and challenges of family life in Ireland is typically shared by families from around the world.  Looking to the future I think that the valuable interaction between the elderly and young can certainly be worked on and developed in our own parishes.” 

A theme being addressed today is the impact of the digital world on family life. 

The opening Mass for the World Meeting of Families took place in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.  Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family & Life, was the principal celebrant and preached the homily.  Concelebrating the Mass were Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare & Leighlin, Father Timothy Bartlett of Down & Connor, Father Colm O’Doherty of Derry and Father Darren Brennan of Down & Connor.  The closing Mass will be celebrated by Pope Francis on Saturday evening, and the Angelus and ‘Mandate to Families’ from the Pope will be shared on Sunday morning.  Delegates from around the world attending the World Meeting of Families are being hosted by families in the parishes of Rome.


Notes to editors

  • Ms Deirdre O’Rawe is the Regional Director of Accord Northern Ireland Marriage Care Service.
  • Families in Ireland can join in the World Meeting of Families’ celebrations: A special pastoral kit has been prepared and available on https://www.catholicbishops.ie/ for parishes wishing to organise local online participation with WMOF in Rome.  All the events are being live streamed and can be accessed at https://www.romefamily2022.com/en/

–        the Pastoral Congress will take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday 23, 24 and 25 June;

–        the closing Mass will be on the evening of Saturday 25 June; and,

–        the Angelus and ‘Mandate to Families’ from Pope Francis will be shared on the morning of Sunday 26 June.

  • Prayer for the World Meeting of Families 2022:Family Love: Vocation and Path to Holiness

Heavenly Father,

We come before You to praise You

and to thank You for the great gift of the family.

We pray to You for all families

consecrated by the Sacrament of Matrimony.

May they rediscover each day

the grace they have received,

and as small domestic Churches,

may they know how to witness to Your presence

and to the love with which Christ loves the Church.

We pray to You for all families faced with difficulty and suffering

caused by illness or circumstances of which only You know.

Sustain them and make them aware

of the path to holiness upon which You call them,

so that they might experience Your infinite mercy

and find new ways to grow in love.

We pray to You for children and young people:

may they encounter You and respond joyfully

to the vocation You have in mind for them;

We pray for parents and grandparents: may they be aware

that they are signs of the fatherhood and motherhood of God

in caring for the children who, in body and spirit, You entrust to them;

and for the experience of fraternity

that the family can give to the world.


Lord, grant that each family

might live their specific vocation to holiness in the Church

as a call to become missionary disciples,

in the service of life and peace,

in communion with our priests, religious,

and all vocations in the Church.

Bless the World Meeting of Families. Amen.

  • About the World Meeting of Families

Held every three years, the World Meeting of Families is organised by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.  WMOF is the Catholic Church’s largest international gathering of families.  Recent WMOFs were hosted in the cities of Philadelphia, USA in 2015; and by Dublin and Knock in 2018.  The first WMOF was the idea of, and originated with, Saint John Paul II in Rome over 8 and 9 October 1994.  This year’s celebration sees thirty panel discussions with 62 speakers from around the world.  The presentations are being hosted by married couples with three priests listed on the programme.  The Irish delegation includes family members and is led by the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin, and the chair of the Council for Marriage & Family, Bishop Denis Nulty.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office, Brenda Drumm in Rome +353 (0) 87 310 4444, and Martin Long in Maynooth +353 (0) 86 1727678.