Catholics from England and Wales are invited to visit Dublin for the ninth World Meeting of Families, which takes place from August 21 to 26.

Pope Francis is expected to attend the meeting, which has the theme of “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said: “The 2018 World Meeting will be held in Dublin, but it is an event of the entire Church. The meeting will hopefully be a festival of witness to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.”

“The vocation of Christian couples, supported by the Sacrament of Marriage, is a call to witness to that love and to experience the joy of bringing the love of Jesus to those who are troubled and challenged.”

Pope Saint John Paul II asked the Pontifical Council for the Family to establish the WMOF as an international event of prayer, catechesis and celebration that would draw participants from around the globe. It takes place every three years and seeks to strengthen the bonds between families and to witness to the crucial importance of marriage and the family to society.

The principal gatherings will be held in Dublin with smaller events taking place in other centres around Ireland. The meeting itself will begin with a major three-day conference at which international speakers will address the challenges of the family.

Each day will open with a major talk followed by break-out groups on a wide range of theological, spiritual, social and scientific questions on the place of the family in today’s word and will conclude with Mass. A larger function of testimonies will be held on Saturday August 25 to celebrate the place of the family in the Church and a final Mass will conclude the meeting on the afternoon of Sunday August 26.

Tickets or registration is required for all events and while some are free, others will be subject to a fee. A wide range of accommodation is available and can be arranged at the same time as booking tickets. Please visit worldmeeting2018.ie for more details.

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