Love is Our Mission – Let’s Gather to Celebrate and Grow! [Free Session Outline]
“In Jesus, we meet a God who reaches out to us, who creates communion and invites us to share in his joy. We are made in God’s image and called to communion with him and each other. This love gives purpose and shape to all aspects of human life, including the family.”
On a rare evening in August, my wife and I found that all of our young adult children were together in our home unexpectedly. It was a beautiful night, so we grabbed a quick picnic and headed to the beach to see the sparkling water and the sunset over the mountains. The moment was all the more precious because it wasn’t planned. As I took a picture to share with friends, I took stock of the many times we have been to this beach, when they were toddlers and we were fearful of them wandering to the water without us, when they were school age and they couldn’t wait to jump in the water and try their new swimming skills, when they were adolescents and they walked the beach engaged in deep conversation with each other about the intense drama of what happened recently with their friends from school. These pictures ran through my head and I realized that love was at the center of all of these memories, love for each other but also an awareness of a love bigger than just our family--God’s love. God’s love calls to us and it changes everything.
From September 22nd to 28th, thousands of families from around the world will gather with our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. “Love is Our Mission” is the theme for this historic meeting. The preparation materials for this event invite us to think about how we’ve experienced God’s love. As Pope Francis reminds us, ““The ‘home’ is a crucial place in life, where life grows and can be fulfilled, because it is a place in which every person learns to receive love and to give love.” (Pope Francis 5/21/13) Experiencing God’s love leads us to learn how to love each other as family, which compels us to share that love in the world. We are called to know and recognize all of the ways that God loves us. Love is our mission. We are also called to take the love we’ve encountered, the ways we have to learned to love deeply and faithfully in our homes, and share that love with the world.
Join in the Celebration!
The World Meeting of Families is a time to celebrate the love that families experience and the love we are called to share. Many will be in Philadelphia for the meeting, but all of us can celebrate, can learn and be challenged. This can be like the Super Bowl – a hundred thousand see it in person, but millions gather with loved ones and share this event in homes across the country. There are lots of ways to be part of the gathering as a family, as youth ministry, and as a parish. Here are some resources to get started:
Keep in touch with the social media alerts and messages: http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/the-latest/social-boards/
Watch the live streaming available online and on television. The general sessions of the World Meeting of Families (September 22-26) and key events of the Papal Visit and Mass (September 27-28) will be live streamed via the internet and televised on EWTN. Check local guides for listings.
Join in prayer for the meeting. http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/about-the-event/prayer/
Host a Parish Meeting of Families
The Center for Ministry Development is happy to make this session from our Youth Ministry Access and Fashioning Faith websites available for free. Follow the button below to download a session plan, and a PowerPoint presentation.