The Claytons attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland

The World Meeting of Families was held in Dublin at the end of August, a three-day event that will bring together 37,000 people from 116 countries, including Pope Francis.

Deacon Josh Clayton, his wife Anna and their four children Jack, Maria, Lucy and Patrick represented the Diocese of Bathurst and Australia at this important gathering.

Deacon Josh gives us a snapshot of his family's experience at the World Meeting of Families 2018:

Day 1: What a great start to the WMOF! We have heard from many great speakers who drew on the great importance of families being strong and loving with each other. The call of so many was to boost families to see our society grow and develop, especially as followers of Christ.
One memorable quote from Archpriest Mikhail Nasonov was, "We must stoke the fire of love between members of our families or we end up with just cold embers". 

For our family, it was an important quote. Sometimes we can all forget this! 

After a wonderful celebration of the Eucharist, we were lucky enough to have generous members of the Trim parish who drove us home to the parochial house. Like any good pilgrimage, we have been able to experience the generosity of others; which will leave a lasting mark for us.

Day 2: 
Today we heard input from experienced leaders about how we can help couples to be truly prepared for their marriage, not just ticking the marriage preparation box, but helping them and walking with them as they journey through their marriage.

Input was offered Cardinal Cupich and an expert panel on the beauty of intimate love, as well as how we can help others to know the Church is not saying no to things, but rather giving an image of what beauty is possible in a loving marriage.

During a plenary session, Cardinal Nicholls from Westminster gave eight tips for marriage used in his archdiocese.

This was followed by Mass and a time of worship lead by Rend Collective, the performers and writers of the much-loved song in the Diocese of Bathurst, My Lighthouse. 

The Final Mass at Phoenix Park, Dublin
What an amazing time! We have concluded our time at the WMOF with Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Phoenix Park. During the Mass, the Pope renewed sorrow for the wrongs that have occurred due to the sins of clerical abuse.

He called us all to be the missionary disciples we need to be for our world and, most importantly, our Church to be renewed. He encouraged us to expand our net of contacts to help others to become aware of the important place the Church sees families have in our world.

The Irish delivered rain and good organisation, one appreciated and the other tolerated. But it was a wonderful celebration of our family of Families, the Church.

It was also announced that Rome would hold the next meeting of Families in 2021, which will offer a wonderful chance for families to gather again and share their faith in our loving and merciful God.

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