The Diocese of Burlington, USA, has designated 2018 as the Year of the Family with a particular focus on Holy Father Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love). A new Pre-Cana program, a World Marriage Day anniversary Mass, a Catholic men’s conference, the annual Family Mass at St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle la Motte, a women’s retreat and a possible diocesan conference tied to the World Meeting of Families in Ireland ,are all planned for the Year 2018. The main aim of this declaration is to give the Catholics in the country the opportunity to explore, reflect upon and implement the exhortation.
As reported by catholicphilly.com, His Excellency Bishop Christopher J .Coyne of Burlington remarked that “Like last year’s Year of Creation, this Year of the Family offers us a year to ponder the church’s teaching on the family and embrace it ourselves.” Josh Perry, diocesan director of worship, highlighted that “The Church tirelessly works to strengthen and support families through its accompaniment in pastoral ministry and its celebration of the sacraments. The Church needs families. In so much as families hold the presence of Christ, the Church- which we know to be the body of Christ- is strengthened by the presence of families. Throughout the document, the Church is referred to as a ‘family of families’”.
Michael Hagan, coordinator of religious education and catechesis for the diocese, emphasized that “The church truly is a community and noted that St. John Paul many times said the future of humanity is linked to the future of the family.”