Derry, Northern Ireland, Aug 21, 2018 / 16:22 pm
Faced with daunting cultural challenges, the Church must engage in difficult discussions rather than seeking quick answers, said Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry at one of the local opening Masses for the World Meeting of Families.
The bishop offered prayers "that this week will inspire dioceses, parishes and families to build community in the face of an epidemic of loneliness."
"I pray that faith communities will be places of God's hope in a frightened world," he continued. "I pray that churches will promote a gracious way of having difficult conversations in a world where harsh words often seem to dominate."
Held every three years at a different location, the World Meeting of Families focuses on marriage and family as the foundation of society and the Church. The theme for this year's event is "The Gospel of family, joy for the world." Some 37,000 people from across the globe are expected to attend the Masses, discussions and services held over the next few days, with even larger crowds anticipated for Pope Francis' arrival at the end of the week.