Bishop Robert Brennan from the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York was accompanied by twenty lay delegates at Mass for the Opening of the World Meeting of Families, celebrated by Bishop Michael Smith in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar.
Prior to Mass, the New York guests were welcomed to supper hosted by couples from Mullingar parish involved in family ministry.
In his homily, Bishop Brennan spoke about three points relating to family life. “There are saints among us”, the Bishop said, speaking of the great efforts made by parents and the countless ways we accept each other in our families and show love beyond the call of duty. “Simple things matter” he continued, echoing the message of Pope Francis. The Bishop encouraged the congregation, gathered from twenty-two parishes in Westmeath and Offaly, not to be afraid of our weaknesses. “All of us have elements of brokenness and none of us are perfect” he said “but being touched and healed by the compassion and love of Christ makes us stronger than we were before”.
During the intercessions, prayers were offered for parents and children, for those who long to be parents, for those who lost a child; for people who have separated, for single parents; for those who are carers of other family members; for children with special needs; for adults living with their parents, for single people. Prayers were also said for those who are living apart from their family, for those who have emigrated abroad, for those who are forced to flee their homeland in search of safety.