World Family Day 2018 – Walking towards Dublin

In preparation for World Family Day we wanted to make ourselves available to the Irish Church wherever it needed to be.

Thus was born the idea of having a day for the families of the Diocese at Lough Key Forest Park, a large beautiful natural park near a lake.
We do not have so many members of the movement in that region, only this volunteer, Evelyn. Msgr. Kevin invited her to join a small committee (made up of 3 people; she and 2 other members of the diocese!) for the preparation of the day.
Evelyn was in turn helped and supported by a small group of the Focolare including some experienced professionals in the preparation of major events.
Evelyn said, “For me, it was a concentration on building unity. Every thought given was an opportunity for this, and every action and decision taken was made together with others and with the Bishop. One person sent me a message to thank me saying that it had been very nice to work with me, … obviously the climate of mutual love that has been created between all had touched him.
The theme chosen for the day was the “Focolare Family Cube”: “The Dice of Love” with writings by Chiara and from the “ Amoris Laetitia” for the family. The six faces of the dice were printed and hung on the trees at the entrance of the park. These writings read on arrival and the personal welcome allowed everyone to immediately perceive the soul of the day.
The program started with a dice cast on stage, and the thought of “Be the first to love” came out.
The day involved the whole community with the musicians and the local band. Families could visit various workshops: Family Games, Nature Care for the Family, Family Fun, Facial Painting, The World Family (Caritas): Helping Countries in Need.
There was also a workshop on the “Family Cube”, and Dance for the Family to which, as the Focolare Movement, we contributed.
A particular good moment was when the two bishops, the Catholic one and the Anglican one, gave the day a special touch with a prayer together and the cut of a cake made in the form of the cube with the inscriptions on its sides. The image of the cutting of the cake was published in the Roscommon Herald, the local newspaper, and other websites and newsletters.

At the end of the day Andrew, a participant, sang a song composed by him, about the three words that Pope Frances suggested for family life: please, thank you, and sorry.

For us it was nice to be able to be at service,in the background, and to be able to make known the spirit of the Art of Loving .

This is the impression of Áine, a lady who participated concretely by helping in the preparation.:

I felt that we were in harmony with all that Emmaus and Jesus said this year: .the realization of the charism of Unity in society and in the Church…”. We were as a backdrop to serve and make the local church shine. Turning among the people I thought of Chiara’s words in the meditation “the great attraction of modern time”, and felt that we were in the right place, among the crowd of local people from remote villages and towns (the majority Catholic but also of other denomination), and also among newcomers in the region, refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East, mostly Muslims, who were delighted to find this emphasis on family life in Ireland.