Report from World Meeting of Families

September 5, 2018

Cardinal Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis, in meditation garden

I’ve just wrapped up a week in Dublin, where I attended World Meeting of Families 2018.

During my time in the city, I spoke over and over again with families, parents, and volunteers who felt the presence of a wonderful spirit of love.  What’s more, we saw the Catholic family come together and join with many others to care for our common home.

Working with our partners in the Laudato Si’ Ireland Working Group, Trócaire, the World Meeting of Families, and other organizations, we saw a flourishing of care for each other and the home we share.

A highlight of the meeting was a surprise announcement by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference that it would divest from fossil fuels. The announcement was made public on the eve of Pope Francis arrival to Dublin at an interfaith vigil in Christchurch Cathedral,  and was received with great enthusiasm by the interfaith audience.

Biodiversity speaker dressed as a bee

Creating spaces

A team of volunteers transformed the parking lot of a monastery into a meditation garden, complete with a labyrinth, well, and pollinator- friendly plants. Talks on biodiversity, water and the universe story were given daily. Local environmental organisations provided expert support on biodiversity and water issues.

An interactive sculpture of a beehive by renowned Irish sculptor Imogen Stewart helped families experience life from the perspective of these small but critical members of creation.

An “Our Common Home” tent in the teen space deepened teens’ reflections on creation through the “earth cube”.

Prayer ribbons

 

Lifting up prayers

Hundreds of families prayed around a Climate Justice candle and wrote petitions for creation on ribbons that were hung in a space for prayer.

Pilgrims received prayer cards for mealtimes that helped them pray for the abundance of the Earth and those who harvest it.

A climate justice candle and photos brought prayers for creation into the main prayer space. The message of our common home was brought to life in the final mass with a lively procession of prayer flags led by a bee and a fish.

Strengthening practices

learning more

An animated video with guidance on how to travel sustainably was distributed to all pilgrims. After the final Papal mass with over 200,000 people the lack of litter led us to believe this message had resonated with the pilgrims.

Videos from families in Ireland who are already making changes to protect creation were shown on the dedicated Our Common Home section of the World Meeting of Families website.

Teenagers met a Columban Eco-Missionary and explored how to be a “Guardian of Creation” during three days of interactive workshops.

A wonderful team of eco-volunteers engaged with families in the Children’s Global Village on planting seeds and caring for our Earth.

Sustainability guidance was sent to all exhibitors

The World Meeting of Families helped families think deeply, live wisely, and love generously by caring for creation.

See more photos from the event here

Creation Care at World Meeting of Families 2018

All of us in Dublin were so grateful to be share such an exceptional experience with the Catholic family. We hope that the  experience of Our Common Home project will live on and more Catholic events can learn how to be more caring towards the earth.

attending papal mass in Dublin

Christina Leaño
Associate Director, GCCM