The Vatican unveiled Thursday the official prayer of the 2022 World Meeting of Families in Rome.
The Diocese of Rome and the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life also released April 22 the official hashtag -- #WMOF2022 -- of the meeting that will take place June 22-26, 2022.
Commenting on the new prayer, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican dicastery, said: “Many families and communities have been waiting a long time to be able to set out on their way, at least spiritually, to Rome. Prayer will accompany them and help them to grasp the message of the gathering.”
The 10th World Meeting of Families will be held at the end of the Amoris Laetitia Family Year, which marks the fifth anniversary of Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on love in the family. The Year, which began on March 19, will last for 15 months, culminating with the gathering in Rome.
The meeting was originally scheduled to take place on June 23-27, 2021, but the Vatican announced in April 2020 that Pope Francis had decided to delay it by a year due to the coronavirus crisis.
Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the Vicar of Rome, said that prayer would be at the heart of preparations for next year’s meeting.
“It will guide our work and inspire the reflections to help us, in the light of faith, to discern the new challenges that the pandemic emergency poses to the ecclesial community with regard to families,” he said.
“I invite everyone to prepare for this event of grace that the Church of Rome has the joy of hosting, and to address this prayer to the Lord in the intimacy of their family, together with the parish and diocesan community.”
The official prayer was inspired by the theme selected by Pope Francis for the Rome gathering, “Family Love: Vocation and Path to Holiness.”
Farrell said that the vocation of families could be better understood by reading Amoris laetitia together with Gaudete et exsultate, Pope Francis’ 2018 apostolic exhortation “on the call to holiness in today’s world.”
“In an age fraught with trials and difficulties in which families are experiencing and coping with challenges and hardships, it might seem somewhat out of touch or inappropriate to talk about family holiness,” he commented.
“Hence the importance of prayer in living the sacrament of marriage to the full. A relationship with God enables Christian couples every day to rekindle the grace they have received, and this sustains them in their daily tasks and struggles. Our life can always be a path to personal, family and couple holiness, a way to grow in love for others.”
“All members of the family, including children, young people, parents, and grandparents, are called to discover in themselves a call to holiness.”
Quoting from Gaudete et exsultate, he continued: “In this sense, family life can become an expression of holiness as ‘the most attractive face of the Church.’ This shows us how useful it is to cross-reference Amoris laetitia and Gaudete et exsultate, as Pope Francis suggests in the theme of the meeting, in order to better understand family vocation.”
De Donatis said that Catholic families should seek inspiration from saintly couples such as Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, the canonized parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux, and Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini, who were beatified together in 2001.
“Christian couples are invited to walk their path of holiness together, following in the footsteps of illustrious saints and beatified couples and sustained by their intercession,” he said.
“Example is given by the parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux or the Beltrame Quattrocchi couple, people who trustingly accepted life’s painful trials and who saw the faithful presence of Christ in the story of their love.”
Citing Amoris laetitia, he concluded: “The surge of hope generated by God’s faithful love gives rise to a desire to proclaim God’s love and make the family ‘the way of the Church,’ the place where new vocations are nurtured.”
The official prayer of the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome:
Family Love: Vocation and Path to Holiness
We come before You to praise You
and to thank You for the great gift of the family.
We pray to You for all families
consecrated by the Sacrament of Matrimony.
May they rediscover each day
the grace they have received,
and as small domestic Churches,
may they know how to witness to Your presence
and to the love with which Christ loves the Church.
We pray to You for all families faced with difficulty and suffering
caused by illness or circumstances of which only You know.
Sustain them and make them aware
of the path to holiness upon which You call them,
so that they might experience Your infinite mercy
and find new ways to grow in love.
We pray to You for children and young people:
may they encounter You and respond joyfully
to the vocation You have in mind for them;
We pray for parents and grandparents: may they be aware
that they are signs of the fatherhood and motherhood of God
in caring for the children who, in body and spirit, You entrust to them;
and for the experience of fraternity
that the family can give to the world.
Lord, grant that each family
might live their specific vocation to holiness in the Church
as a call to become missionary disciples,
in the service of life and peace,
in communion with our priests, religious,
and all vocations in the Church.
Bless the World Meeting of Families.