The 11th World Meeting of Families (WMOF) will be in 2028, but before that, the next gathering of Catholic families will be the “Jubilee of Families” in Rome for the Jubilee Year 2025.
The announcement was made by US Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, the chief celebrant at the June 25 closing Mass of the 10th World Meeting of Families at St Peter’s Square, Rome.
Pope Francis participated in the outdoor Mass preaching the homily but was unable to preside over the liturgy due to problems with his knees. He grimaced in pain as he struggled to and from the popemobile using a cane. The concerned crowd shouted words of support and applauded. He smiled and waved when he settled into the vehicle.
With summer temperatures in the high thirties in Rome, the Vatican moved the Mass time from 5.15 p.m. (Rome time) to 6.30 p.m. to “accommodate the participation of the faithful”. At this time of the year, the sun sets around 9 p.m.
Before concluding the Mass, Pope Francis had a mission for Catholic families: “Proclaim the beauty of being family with joy! Proclaim the grace of Christian marriage to children and young people.”
The Holy Father addressed his “missionary mandate” especially to the WMOF participants who sat in a special seated area to his left. The cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and priests sat off to his right.
He invited young families to “be guided by those who know the way,” and more established families to “be companions on the journey for others”. And for families who have lost the way, he encouraged them not to be overcome by sadness, but to “trust in the love that God has placed in you, [and] beseech the Spirit each day to revive it.”
Pope Francis said, “Be the seed of a more fraternal world! Be families with big hearts! Be the welcoming face of the Church! And please pray, always pray!” There was an estimated 2,000 WMOF participants. The reduced number was due to the pandemic with every episcopal conference given a specific number of delegates depending on size. A four-member contingent represented the Antilles Episcopal Conference. Recaps of WMOF presentations in coming issues.
—Vatican News, with reporting by Raymond Syms, Editor, Catholic News