Countdown to World Meeting of Families in 2018 begins at Knock

Event, which Pope Francis is expected to attend, will take place over five days in Dublin

Families from across Ireland will be in Knock, Co Mayo, on Monday to mark the one-year countdown to next year's World Meeting of Families in Dublin.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin will preside at the basilica's 3pm Mass where he will preach on the theme "When Plates Fly: Pope Francis on the joys and challenges of family life".

The Mass will be live streamed on and on with commentary by Fr Dermod McCarthy.

The 2018 gathering’s icon of the Holy Family will be unveiled and anointed at the Mass and begin a journey through the 26 Catholic dioceses in Ireland. The official prayer for the gathering will also be presented at this Mass.


Event secretary general Fr Tim Bartlett will deliver workshops on "Glued to our phones: can we make technology more family friendly?" at St John's Rest and Care Centre.

The World Meeting of Families was established by Pope John Paul in 1994 to emphasise the the central importance of marriage and the family and takes place every three years.

It begins in Dublin on Tuesday, August 21st, next year with a national opening which will take place simultaneously in all 26 dioceses to be followed by a three-day congress on “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.

A Festival of Families will be held on Saturday, August 25th, involving a cultural concert with representatives from five continents, and it will conclude the following day with a Mass involving thousands of pilgrims from Ireland and around the world.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times