The WMOF provides a great opportunity for Catholics at the local level, to renew their commitment to family ministry in solidarity with the Diocese of Rome and diocesan communities around the world. It is also part of the current synodal journey of the Church and aims to be a valuable experience of "participation, communion and mission" of and for families in their shared mission with ordained ministers to build up the fabric of the Church.
The week aims to awaken families with the awareness of the gift they represent within the Church, and for the Church to acknowledge these gifts and how important they are for the Church.
The WMOF was originally scheduled for 2021, on the fifth anniversary since the publication of Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation Ámoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), which focused on love in the family, but was postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The WMOF tradition was initiated by Pope John Paul II to coincide with the United Nations “International Year of the Family’ and was held in Rome in October 1994.
WMOF has been held every three years in different parts of the world along with an International Pastoral-Theological Congress. It concludes with a Festival of Families in the presence of the Pope and a great final Eucharistic Celebration.
This year the theme for WMOF is Family Love: Vocation and Path to Holiness, has inspired the WMOF prayer. Cardinal Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family, said the prayer “springs from deep gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the great gift of family, a very special place for loving relationships. It is intended to be a pastoral tool: it can be prayed from now on in parishes, in communities, at home, to help with preparation for the next year's international event.”
Cardinall Farrell added, “It is from the love experienced in family life that the vocation of every child is born”. It is love savoured within the domestic walls that traces the first steps on the path to holiness. An experience of prayer introduces us to the deeper liberating meaning of relationships in daily life. The binomials of family and vocation together with family and holiness show us how family relationships are of fundamental importance in the generation of love.”
Pope Francis wants everyone to have the opportunity to participate in WMOF and have access to the live-streamed Mass, events and resources prepared by the Dicastery for Laity and Family.
An App has been designed to provide an easy pathway to immerse yourself in the WMOF and to learn more about our gifts as children, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts … To encourage virtual participation, anyone who follows 50% of the pathways offered in the App will receive a Certificate of Participation. We encourage you to download the app and share it with others; for many, this is the closest they will ever get to such significant events in Rome.