The Tenth World Meeting of Families (WMF) celebrating family life is taking place between June 22-26. Its theme will be "Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to Holiness"
Held every three years in a different city across the world each time, the WMoF was originally launched in 1994 by Pope St John Paul II. That year was declared ‘International Year of the Family’ by the United Nations.
Image Courtesy of WMoF, Diocese of Rome
Although centred on Rome, the main focus of WMoF 2022 will be on dioceses around the world, each with their own 'Rome@Home' programme of local events taking place in parishes across the globe. Here in the Archdiocese of Southwark, individual deaneries and parishes are organising their own family-orientated events and celebrations to mark WMF 2022.
"The family, which is founded and given life by love, is a community of persons." (Familiaris Consortio 18) - Saint Pope John Paul II.
We are all invited spiritually to gather as a world family in Christ to celebrate the joy, love, and glory that is the vocation of family life through the World Meeting of Families.
At past WMoF meetings most families stayed at home with the meeting perceived as being something remote, at most followed on television, and unknown to the majority of families. This time WMoF will have a special format with an opportunity provided by providence to create a worldwide event that can involve all families that would like to feel part of the ecclesial community.
Under the title 'Rome at Home', new ways have been developed in order to celebrate the gift of family life.
In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis speaks about the importance of parish life. He refers to Saint Pope John Paul II's description of a parish as "the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters" (Christifideles Laici,26). We are encouraged and strengthened through our community, while we are formed by the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis highlights that a parish is called to be the presence of the Church in a community, providing a place where people can hear God's word, grow in discipleship, and extend themselves in love to the poor and needy, bringing families together: a place where we can pray, worship, and celebrate together. (Amoris Laetitia 87,88).
In a 2005 address, Pope Benedict XVI described the parish as an extended family that "brings together brothers and sisters who have no desire for power or selfish interests, but who live in the joy of the charity of God, who is love." It is when we come together at Mass, as a community in Christ, that we see the great variety of families who make up our extended parish family.
It is a special joy when we see young families taking part in the Mass and engaged in the life of the parish. When the babies are crying, or fidgety children are making a noise; these are all signs that the Church is young and alive; a community of young families, mature families, extended families, young and old together.
The World Meeting of Families offers a great opportunity to remember and help and support those families who have fallen away from their practice of the faith during the pandemic for whatever reason.
The Archdiocese of Southwark encourages each parishioner to celebrate the joy of family life and to embrace the opportunity that is this year's World Meeting of Families, inviting everyone back home to Mother Church to celebrate just as the Father does with the return of the Prodigal Son.
Ways to get involved
Using the opportunity provided by National Marriage Week (May 16-22), here are some
suggestions for parishes and deaneries to celebrate WMF.
- Each family to be given a card upon which they can write the names of their families, with the cards then posted in a box that sits in the sanctuary.
- A Mass celebrated over the WMF weekend for all those families mentioned in
the cards in the sanctuary box.
- A WMF prayer card distributed to parishioners – bulk copies have been made available to all parishes in the Archdiocese of Southwark. Perhaps pray it with your family or spouse at the end of Mass on June 18/19 and 25/26 June – the two weekends nearest the WMF.
- Hold a parish picnic to celebrate the joy of family life that coincides with the closing of the WMF, Sunday 26 June. Pope Francis will be delivering a message during the Angelus on that Sunday.
- Use one of the recordings from the Theological Congress to promote discussion with the parish team about the ongoing development of family ministry within the. The recordings can be found here: romefamily2022.com
Building up and supporting families doesn't have to stop after June 26! The Southwark Marriage and Family Life Team can support you. Please contact us on any of the following email addresses:
Or look on the diocesan website for more information: https://www.rcaos.org.uk
CELEBRATE Prayer Stations for all the Family
These Prayer Stations have been created by the CELEBRATE family ministry as a response to the World Meeting of Families. CELEBRATE wishes to make these Prayer Stations available to every parish and diocese to use in their events. The Prayer Stations can be used at any time of the year, but have been specifically created for the World Meeting of Families.
The CELEBRATE Prayer Stations have been developed primarily for children to be accompanied by a mix of parents/carers, grandparents, catechists and parishioners, to travel together in small groups from station to station to create an interactive prayer journey.
The content is based on Scripture and Church teaching on the family echoing some of the themes from the WMF documents. They have been developed to be as engaging and inclusive as possible, and provide discovery and formation elements to evangelise and catechise and help build family and church community.
Do take a look and consider whether they can be part of your parish and diocesan activities. They are free to download but are not free to produce so CELEBRATE would be very grateful for a donation if they are used within your parish, school or home.
New National School Assembly 'Celebrating Family Love'
We are very excited to be able to offer you a fantastic new resource to help you celebrate the World Meeting of Families. We have worked alongside storytelling agency Ministory, to bring you a dynamic and exciting assembly to use in your school. Both primary and secondary versions of the assembly are available.
These animated video assemblies include a range of guest speakers, reflections and prayers, and will be the perfect resource to use with your students to help them think about and reflect on the theme of family love.
We are also producing a free resource pack to help with your celebrations. This pack includes a range of materials, ideas and resources to help with your school to join in with the World Meeting of Family celebrations. The ‘Celebrating Family Love’ Assembly will be available to view and download from 6th June at www.catholiceducation.co.uk
We encourage all schools to use the assemblies around June 22-26 to coincide with the World Meeting of Families celebration. For more information, please contact Joanne White firstname.lastname@example.org
Further Information and Updates
For more details of the World Meeting of Families including the programme of events in Rome visit: