In these days ‘after the experience of the World Meeting of Families’ it takes time to gather and process all that we have been part of and to contemplate those precious moments that resonate with us (individually and together) as shared experience.
One moment that was quite powerful was when together with Pope Francis we recited the official prayer created for the WMOF2018. It is timeless and yet made for our times.
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.
Below is an extract from the homily of Pope Francis at the Closing Mass of the WMOF2018 in the Phoenix Park, on Sunday 26th August 2018. The full text of this homily and of all the other homilies and texts given by Pope Francis during the duration of his Pastoral Visit are available at this link WMOF2018 Pope Francis Homilies and Texts.
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS at the Closing Mass in the Phoenix (an extract)
“You have the words of eternal life!” (Jn 6:68)
At the end of this World Meeting of Families, we gather as a family around the table of the Lord. We thank God for the many blessings we have received in our families. And we want to commit ourselves to living fully our vocation to be, in the touching words of Saint Therese, “love in the heart of the Church”.
In this precious moment of communion with one another and with the Lord, it is good to pause and consider the source of all the good things we have received. Jesus reveals the origin of these blessings in today’s Gospel, when he speaks to his disciples. Many of them were upset, confused or even angry, struggling to accept his “hard sayings”, so contrary to the wisdom of this world. In response, the Lord tells them directly: “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (Jn 6:63).
These words, with their promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, are teeming with life for us who accept them in faith. They point to the ultimate source of all the good that we have experienced and celebrated here in these past few days: the Spirit of God, who constantly breathes new life into our world, into our hearts, into our families, into our homes and parishes. Each new day in the life of our families, and each new generation, brings the promise of a new Pentecost, a domestic Pentecost, a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, the Paraclete, whom Jesus sends as our Advocate, our Consoler and indeed our Encourager.
How much our world needs this encouragement that is God’s gift and promise! As one of the fruits of this celebration of family life, may you go back to your homes and become a source of encouragement to others, to share with them Jesus’ “words of eternal life”. For your families are both a privileged place for, and an important means of, spreading those words as “Good News” for everyone, especially those who long to leave behind the desert and the “house of bondage” (cf. Jos 24:17) for the promised land of hope and freedom.[…]
Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, each Christian is sent forth to be a missionary, “a missionary disciple” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 120). The Church as a whole is called to “go forth” to bring the words of eternal life to all the peripheries of our world. May our celebration today confirm each of you, parents and grandparents, children and young people, men and women, religious brothers and sisters, contemplatives and missionaries, deacons, priests and bishops, to share the joy of the Gospel! Share the Gospel of the family as joy for the world!
As we now prepare to go our separate ways, let us renew our fidelity to the Lord and to the vocation he has given to each of us. Taking up the prayer of Saint Patrick, let each of us repeat with joy: “Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me” [repeated in Irish]. With the joy and strength given by the Holy Spirit, let us say to him with confidence: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68).
At the conclusion of this Eucharistic celebration and this marvellous World Meeting of Families, which has been a gift of God to us and to the whole Church, I would like to say a heartfelt “thank you” to all those who contributed in any way to its realization.
I want to say a special word of thanks to all those who prayed for this Meeting: the elderly, children, men and women religious, the infirm and those in prison… I am sure that the success of this Meeting is due to their quiet and persevering prayers. Thank you everyone! May the Lord repay you!
Thank you you to all at the WMOF HQ for making this material so readily available to us.