(Vatican Radio) It’s been just over a year since the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life was created by Pope Francis to replace the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Since then this “new” dicastery, as it’s still often referred to, has been carving out a path under the guidance of its Prefect, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, formerly the Bishop of Dallas, Texas in the US, who was asked by the Pope to take up the multifaceted role.
Cardinal Farrell spoke to Lydia O’Kane about the workings of this office, the importance of the laity and future projects which include the 2018 World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin, Ireland.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with Cardinal Kevin Farrell:
Speaking about the dicastery, the Cardinal said, “my challenge is to bring it all together, to combine or bring together laity, family and life and the logic of all of that is the fact that laity live out their lives generally, not always but generally in the married state and it’s the marriage state that gives life to the world and so obviously it’s a great challenge.”
He also comments that “it took me almost a year to try and understand exactly what these two Pontifical Councils have done in the past.”
Cardinal Farrell pointed out that one of the aims of this new office is to have more laity in it and notes that under the statutes of the dicastery the Prefect and the Secretary can be lay people, adding he will “continue to promote the laity at every level in the Church”.
Talking passionately about the work of the laity all over the world, he also underlined that now is the time to implement fully what the Second Vatican Council called for, that is, “the vocation of the laity within the Church.”
World Meeting of Families
One of the most important dates in the dicastery’s calendar is the World Meeting of Families which will take place in Dublin, Ireland in August 2018.
The WMOF was established by Saint John Paul II in 1994 and next year’s event will include a three day congress on the “Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.”
Preparations are well underway and for the Dublin born Cardinal this event is a moment to bring together Catholics, Christians and all people of good will who “believe strongly in the importance of the family for the success of humanity.”
Asked about the significance of having the World Meeting of Families 2018 in the Irish capital, Cardinal Farrell said, Pope Francis chose Ireland, adding that, “it would be our hope that we would give an impulse to the family in Ireland. It is a unique opportunity for Ireland; there were many other options but Pope Francis chose Ireland and hoped that would attract people from northern Europe.”
On a personal level the Cardinal said, he was extremely proud that this gathering would be taking place in the city he grew up in. There is the great hope that Pope Francis will come to Ireland for the meeting and Cardinal Farrell said that if that happens, “I can’t wait to be there to welcome the Holy Father when he gets off that plane.”