Over 3,000 people celebrated a free Family Fun Day on 8th Oct 2017 to mark the Limerick launch of preparations for World Meeting of Families 2018.
Family Fun Day goes down a treat as thousands gather to kick off Limerick Diocese ‘World Meeting of Families’ programme
source – www.limerickdiocese.org
Next year’s international gathering must be for ‘family of all diversities’ – says Bishop Leahy
Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has stressed that the World Meeting of Families in Ireland next year must be for families in all its forms and diversities and not just the perceived traditional Irish, Catholic model.
Reflecting on Sunday’s hugely successful launch of the Limerick Diocese programme to build up to next year’s event, Bishop Leahy said that the World Meeting of Families will be a missed opportunity if we do not embrace family in all its variety.
Over 3,000 young and old gathered yesterday at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick for the ‘Family Fun Day’ organised by the diocese to kick-off its build-up to next year’s event in Dublin that will be attended, it is hoped, by Pope Francis.
Sunday’s event in Limerick was a festival of fun as people arrived in droves between 1p.m. and 4p.m. for an event stacked with free activities to engage all the family. There were food stalls, children’s arts & crafts, a mobile farm, face painting, archery, an obstacle course, water zorbs, musical chairs, indoor sports and much more. Many stayed for a beautiful liturgy at 4 pm that reflected the lovely family atmosphere that had built up all afternoon.
Said Bishop Leahy: “It was fantastic. I don’t think there is anything that warms the heart as much as seeing families have fun and we were surrounded by it yesterday. It wasn’t just the children; you could see the parents relishing it also. I went into the indoor sports area at one stage and there was a wonderful three-a-side happening between a father and his two sons. I saw mams and dads in musical chairs, at face-painting. It was just so refreshing to see all those smiles, hear all that laughter. The comment that summed it for me was one parent who said that if next year’s World Meeting of Families event will be anything like Sunday’s there’ll be unbelievable crowds at it!”
Speaking about the reason for the event, Bishop Leahy said: “The World Meeting of Families is perhaps the most important gathering in this country for decades. Family is at our very core as people. It anchors us in life, defines us. It’s comfort when we are in difficulty and the first place to go to celebrate.
“The World Meeting of Family is a major celebration of this. It’s an international event but it will have special meaning for us as Irish people because family means so much here but we do need this renewal.”
He continued: “Sunday’s gathering reaffirmed for me the greatness of family. The great thing for me also was that it was a coming together of the full diversity of family. I was delighted to see a good presence of Muslims also. My hope for next year’s event is that it will be for all families; for the traditional family, single parents, people in second relationships, people divorced and remarried, people of great faith and no faith, people of other faiths, people who agree with the Church and those who disagree.
“We are living in changing times and family too is changing. We’ve had the referendum in favour of same sex marriage and a lot of people voted in that referendum and all are equally welcome to join in this celebration of family. Everyone must be made feel welcome next year. We all want to build a good family network of support in Ireland at all levels.”