Catholics seek encouragement as World Meeting of Families opens in Dublin

webRNS-Families-Meeting2-082118Source: Religion News Service

BY Christine A. Scheller

DUBLIN (RNS) – As 750,000 Catholics gather in Dublin for the start of the World Meeting of Families, the week is shaping up to bring an intense mix of joy, learning and even some sadness as the long shadow of the clergy sexual abuse crisis proves inescapable.

On the agenda of the triennial event, which began Tuesday (Aug. 21) and runs through Sunday, are workshops on topics ranging from domestic violence and migration to incarceration and personal technology. Capping the gathering will be weekend appearances by Pope Francis at a festival featuring personal testimonies and a closing Mass on Sunday.

“Families today face many challenges in their efforts to embody faithful love, to bring up children with sound values and to be a leaven of goodness, love and mutual concern in the larger community,” Pope Francis said Monday in a written statement to open the gathering. “I hope that this festival will be a source of renewed encouragement to families everywhere.”

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