This evening, all of Ireland’s 26 dioceses will open the 9th World Meeting of Families simultaneously with a special liturgical ceremony and with the ringing of bells in each of the 26 diocesan cathedrals across the island. Family-friendly festivals are also taking place, according to an announcement about the WMOF agenda from the Irish Bishops’ Conference. The lead ceremony will take place in Dublin.

The schedule for this event held every three years calls for the WMOF Pastoral Congress to take place in the Royal Dublin Society over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week while the Festival of Families will be celebrated in Croke Park on Saturday afternoon. The Holy Father Pope Francis will join the WMOF celebrations when he visits Ireland on Saturday 25 August. WMOF will culminate with the closing Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, on Sunday next, 26 August.

Tuesday’s opening liturgy in each cathedral will be a full celebration of Evening Prayer. Entitled Le chéile le Críost (Together with Christ), it will gather the Church as the family of families as we set out on the path of celebration for the entire World Meeting of Families. Representatives from each parish will attend their respective cathedral along with international pilgrims.

These liturgical celebrations will remind us that we walk in the footsteps of the saints and those who have handed on the faith to us. The ceremonies will involve singing and praying hymns, psalms and canticles, burning incense and praying for the entire human family before our God and Father. All are welcome!

A sample of some of the diocesan celebrations planned for this evening:

Event: Opening Ceremony of the World Meeting of Families 2018
Location: Cathedral of the Annunciation and Saint Nathy, Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon
Time: 8.00pm
Details: This special celebration, on the evening of August 21st, will be a gathering of all twenty-three parishes of the diocese – eleven in County Mayo, eleven in County Sligo, and the Cathedral Parish of Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon. It will focus on the life of the Venerable Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC, a native of our diocese, a priest of the Congregation of Sancta Croce (Holy Cross), and known with great international renown as ‘the Rosary Priest’. The evening in the Cathedral will have as its theme the message Fr. Peyton brought to the world, “The family that prays together, stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”

Event: Opening festival followed by music and Evening Prayer
Location: Shambles Market
Times: 5pm- Festival
7pm: Procession
7:30 – 8:15pm: Evening Prayer
Details: Free to all, this festival promises to be a joyful, fun celebration of family, of all ages shapes and sizes and includes live music, dance, bouncy castles, face painting and a wide range of other fun activities. At 7pm there’ll be a procession from the Shambles Market to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, followed by more music and Evening Prayer from 7:30 – 8:15pm.

Event: Opening Ceremony for the World Meeting of Families
Location: Galway Cathedral
Times: 7.30pm
Details: The ceremony will be led by Bishop Brendan Kelly and will include a blessing of families with the relic of Blessed Karl of Austria. Blessed Karl is one of the very few official saints of the Church who was also a husband and father.

Event: Street Party and Celebration Liturgy
Location: St. John’s Square, Limerick
Times: 3:30 – 6.30 pm: Street Party
7pm: Celebration Liturgy
Details: This event will take place on Tuesday 21st August to welcome Pope Francis and to launch World Meeting of Families. There will be food, face-painting, music and magic followed by a celebration liturgy at St. John’s Cathedral. Admission is free and ALL ARE WELCOME! Under-18s must be accompanied by parent or guardian.


God, our Father,
We are brothers and sisters in Jesus your Son,
One family, in the Spirit of your love.

Bless us with the joy of love.

Make us patient and kind,
gentle and generous,
welcoming to those in need.
Help us to live your forgiveness and peace.

Protect all families with your loving care,
Especially those for whom we now pray:

[We pause and remember family members and others by name].

Increase our faith,
Strengthen our hope,
Keep us safe in your love,
Make us always grateful for the gift of life that we share.

This we ask, through Christ our Lord,


Mary, mother and guide, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, father and protector, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, pray for us.

WMOF website: https://www.worldmeeting2018.ie/en/