By Fr. Limukani Ndlovu
The Holy Father, Pope Francis scheduled June 22-26, 2022 as days for the 10th World Meeting of Families. Thereafter, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life organized for the event to occur in a special multi-centric format while Rome remains the main designated location and each diocese organizes the same simultaneously. Thus, the XWMOF will happen concurrently in local churches depending on pastoral and logistical situations, enabling multitudes to share the experience.
The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life provided guidelines to assist dioceses to prepare for the Meeting. A steering committee was formed composed of members from the ecclesial family movements: Catholic Couples Association, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, Family Counsellors, Family Apostolate Desk, Retrouvaille, Youth and Children’s Ministry coordinators, Religious representatives and those who attended the previous WMOFs. Suggestions from deaneries and the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Desk were taken on board. Two objectives of the Archdiocesan WMOF are: To strengthen family catechesis and to facilitate active participation of all families. The theme of the Meeting was adopted as it is: “Family Love: a vocation and a path to Holiness”.
Several planning meetings were held in different locations, in the spirit of prayer and synodality, with great excitement, creativity, fun and good will as the planning team remained dedicated and determined.
The opening and closing events will take place at diocesan level on 22 June at Cathedral Minor Basilica and at the Shrine of our Lady of Fatima on 25 June respectively. The other days will be celebrated at Deanery and parish levels. The closing day will coincide with the diocesan feast of Immaculate Heart of Mary, the patronage of the Archdiocese. Hence it will be celebrated under the theme: “Archdiocesan Family Day”. Focus will be on the young people who will lead the day’s proceedings, with a presentation on “Transmitting faith to Young People” by Rev. Fr. George Wurayayi.
During the XWMOF, families will be placed at the centre of pastoral attention. Three topics led by the already identified persons will be discussed: Family Love, Wonderful and Fragile; Identity and Mission of the Church; and The Family, a Way to Holiness. The key note address to unpack the theme of the WMOF by Rev. Fr. Herbert Banda will take place soon before the opening Holy Mass.
The WMOF was established by St. John Paul II in 1994 in conjunction with the international Year dedicated by UN to the Family. It will help parishes establish, revive or strengthen Family and Marriage ministry whilst challenging family movements to revive their charisms to respond to the 21st Century threats to families and marriages. The deliberations will get families involved and hopefully make pastoral proposals. As the ancient Chinese farmer Zen story goes, “good luck bad luck who knows” we cannot but see light on the other side of the tunnel and concur with the Holy Father in that, “we cannot continue to do things like we did before the pandemic”.