One of the main ticketed events for the Catholic Church’s World Meeting of Families (WMoF2018) in Dublin at the end of August is already sold out.
Organisers said advance bookings for the event, which was established by Pope John Paul II in 1994 and is held every three years in a different country, were higher than for any previous such meeting.
WMoF2018 spokesperson Brenda Drumm said, to date, 30,000 people had registered for the three-day pastoral congress at the RDS on Wednesday August 22nd through to Friday August 24th, with the Friday event sold out.
“It looks like we are going to sell out the RDS,” she said. A third of the people registered are from a total of 103 countries abroad. “It has been really, really encouraging,” she said.
However she appealed for more volunteers to assist with WMoF2018 events. “We have 5,500 but need between 8,000 and 10,000.” For practical purposes they should be from the greater Dublin area, as accommodation was not provided. They should also be over 18, though over 16s may volunteer if part of a group with an adult leader.
She said it was hoped people could volunteer for a minimum of two days, but ideally for four. To date and over the past 18 months " a couple of hundred volunteers from all over Ireland have been helping with preparations," Ms Drumm said. These include 100 people helping with translation.
Offers of accommodation have been made by 1,800 people to assist families from abroad of limited means. Further such offers would be welcome, she said.
Already there are no free tickets available for the Festival of Families in Croke Park on the evening of Saturday August 25th, which will be attended by Pope Francis.
This celebration of family life around the world will feature musical and dance performances but will also include among the estimated 75,000 attendance “people on the margins”, she said.
Tickets for the Phoenix Park Papal Mass at 3pm on the afternoon of Sunday August 26th are also free and are available at the WMoF2018 website www.worldmeeting2018.ie.
The opening ceremony for WMoF2018 will take place simultaneously across all 26 Catholic dioceses of Ireland on the evening of Tuesday, August 21st, with the lead ceremony in Dublin.
This event will be ecumenical in nature. There have been suggestions that all the Christian churches in Ireland might like to join in by ringing their church bells all over the island as the evening prayer begins.
Tickets for the available two days of the pastoral congress in the RDS cost € 38 online with on the day registration at € 43. For pensioners and unemployed it is €33 online and €38 for on the day registration. Children are free to all events but must be named and registered as part of a family group.
People who have difficulty with accessing tickets online will be assisted locally in parishes.
The first World Meeting of Families was held in Rome in 1994, followed by Rio de Janeiro (1997), Rome again (2000), Manila (2003), Valencia (2006), Mexico City (2009), Milan (2012), and Philadelphia (2015).