Family life at the centre of international Catholic event

World Meeting of Families

The importance of families to the Church and society will be recognised and celebrated around the world later this month, when the 10th World Meeting of Families take place.

Held from June 24-26, the event will be hosted by the Diocese of Rome, but with international travel still restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis has encouraged every diocese in the world to celebrate the event locally, concurrent with the Diocese of Rome.

In Australia, the Life, Marriage and Family Network – a group made up of representatives from various dioceses, communities and organisations – has been planning and coordinating local events for several months, in collaboration with the Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement.

Dioceses, parishes, communities, families and individuals can access a wide range of materials online at, including resources to help promote and host their own local event.

The Network has also coordinated the production of 10 video presentations – aimed at adults, youth and young adults, and children – which break open different topics and themes related to the seven catecheses of the World Meeting of Families. Featuring speakers from around Australia, the video presentations are as follows:


  • Family Life: Wonderful and Fragile
    Sydney’s Byron and Francine Pirola explore the meaning of the family as domestic church and how it reflects the image of God. They also reflect upon the joys and challenges of family life, with a focus on the importance of forgiveness in the family, particularly between spouses.
  • Grandparents and the Elderly: Grace and Mission
    Ron and Mavis Pirola share some advice from 63 years of marriage. They speak about some of the gifts that grandparents and the elderly can give to families, such as time and memories, as well as the ways the elderly can benefit from interacting with youth and children.

Youth and Young Adults

  • The Power of a Love that Generates
    Wollongong mother and wife Christy Honeysett reflects upon the beauty of marriage and her own journey to discerning marriage as a vocation. A theme in Christy’s presentation is that married love always generates life.
  • Nazareth: Rendering Love Normal
    Nathan and Ingrid Kensey, from Canberra, discuss their experiences growing up in families that made love and affection a normal part of life. They emphasise that small, hidden acts that are parts of everyday family life are what make love normal in the home.
  • Called to Holiness
    Melbourne’s Nathan Costin seeks to define holiness and examine how Jesus brings us to holiness. By reflecting on the life and example of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Nathan explores what it means to be called to holiness and how we can respond to that call.
  • Living as Brothers and Sisters
    Christopher Gilroy, who has 12 siblings, discusses what it’s like living in a big family, and its joys and challenges. He also explores how we can become part of the Christian family, the family of God.


  • God Made You to be Good News to the World
    Brisbane’s Luke and Carrie McCormack explore how we can identify God’s presence in our lives and how God, as the loving author of our lives, has a plan for each one of us.
  • Growing in Holiness Through Family Life
    John Shay, father of six, discusses holiness and how children can practise holiness through daily family life. He encourages children to look for ways to practise holiness.
  • Called and Chosen by God
    Anne Delsorte reflects upon the many gifts that God gives us each day, and the ways we can see his presence in our lives. She also explains some simple activities that can be done at home to help children grow in their faith.

Bishop Delegate for Marriage and Family Life, Bishop Richard Umbers, has also recorded a short video inviting Catholics in Australia to participate in the World Meeting of Families. In the video, Bishop Umbers says local events will be a chance to meet other families for fun and fellowship.

“By looking at the family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary, every family can rediscover its own calling, understand each other a little better, find our way along life’s path and feel attracted by the joy of the Gospel,” Bishop Umbers said.

For more information about the World Meeting of Families, including details of diocesan events around Australia, visit


Image: The Abdallah family, who will travel to Rome as part of the Australian delegation for the World Meeting of Families (supplied).
Words: Matthew Biddle

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