Ireland, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain

Ireland: families, expectations for the 2018 world meeting The Church of Ireland is celebrating the announcement made by Pope Francis in Philadelphia that Dublin will host the World Meeting on Families 2018. Archbishop Eamon Martin, primate of All Ireland, conveyed the joy of the Irish Catholic population. “Despite many challenges, the family remains at the heart of faith and of so much that we hold important in this country. Our preparations for the World Meeting of Families will inspire us as we implement, over the next few years, the recommendations which will emerge from the Synod on the Family in Rome next month”. Three years ago, the 50th International Eucharistic Congress “was a great celebration of faith for Ireland, and it attracted pilgrims from all around the world”, the Archbishop said. “I am confident that the World Meeting of Families in 2018 will also be an uplifting event for all of us”. The Archbishop of Diarmuid Martin, in Philadelphia with the Irish delegation, was the first to hear the news directly from the Holy Father: “I look forward to sharing the joy of this announcement with my fellow bishops and with people from all around the country as we begin thinking about how, together, we can best plan to make this significant international event a success”. Czech Republic: Eucharistic Congress in October The Czech Bishops’ Conference has published the full program of the National Eucharistic Congress to be held October 16 to 17 in Brno. It will be divided into four sessions: a conference on the Eucharist, the concert “Extend your hands”, various cultural performances and spiritual celebrations in churches of Brno, and finally a Mass with the Eucharist procession presided over by Cardinal Paul Cordes, pontifical legate and president emeritus of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. The two-day Eucharistic gathering will be introduced on October 15 with the participation of 20 delegates from national dioceses that will reflect on the current challenges in the pastoral life of the Czech Republic and the role of the Eucharist in the daily life of Catholics. A rich program with personal testimonies, prayers and chants in Brno’s Liberty Square, will precede the main Eucharistic celebration of October 17. Poland: the bishops’ position towards the Synod Polish Bishops have decided to express in an official statement in nine points their position on the Ordinary Synod on the family. Faithfulness to the indissolubility of marriage, remarried divorcees, cohabitation, artificial insemination, are some of the most important themes on which the bishops focused their reflections. “Marriage and the Family – states the declaration published on the website of the Pontifical Council for Life – are fundamental values for humanity” and we must “render thanks to God, for so many sound families in our Country” who “in the good and in the bad times” every day try to remain faithful to their vocation. Moreover, “sacramental marriage is indissoluble and in the Catholic Church there is not a divorce or processes that lead to divorce. There are processes whereby individual decisions lead to establish whether the marriage was valid or not”. The document underlines that “Catholics are not permitted to resort to artificial insemination” technique. Thus the Polish bishops’ Conference calls upon the Synod to convey “gratitude to the married couples who have decided to have many children”, including those couples “who have decided to adopt”. Pastoral family ministry must also value and be enriched by “the care for poorest families, those with disabled and aged family members”. Spain: meeting of the Shrines coordinators The fifteenth Meeting of the shrines of Spain, organized by the Department of shrines, pilgrimages and popular piety of the Episcopal Commission for pastoral care, on the theme “Show us Jesus” is ongoing in Guadalupe (Cáceres), Spain (until 1 October). On Tuesday, September 29 Monsignor Juan Antonio Fernández Menéndez, auxiliary bishop of Oviedo and head of the Department for shrines, pilgrimages and popular piety of the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral care, presented the purpose of the meeting together with Eugenio Abad Vega, director of the same Department. Items on the agenda include themes such as “The face of Jesus present in Evangelii gaudium and Misericordiae vultus” or “The face of God visible in the pastoral care of shrines – a pastoral with a heart”, respectively addressed by Monsignor Sebastiá Taltavull, auxiliary bishop of Barcelona, and Monsignor Francisco Cerro, bishop of Coria-Cáceres.

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