World Meeting of Families

by Jean Grant

Help your students learn about the World Meeting of Families with this prayer service.

Preparation: At the prayer table, place a picture of the icon for the World Meeting of Families, which shows the relationship of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to their extended family. Show the prayer for this meeting on an interactive whiteboard, display it on a wall with an overhead projector, or have students hold up their banner from the activity on page 51. Choose two readers. Gather close to the prayer table and turn on a battery-powered candle. Begin with an opening song: “Canticle of the Sun,” “Lead Me, Lord,” or another similarly appropriate song. (The icon and prayer can be found at

All: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Leader: We welcome Pope Francis to the United States and the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. Jesus showed his love and respect for Mary and Joseph. He honored them as we are asked to do for our parents in keeping with the Fourth Commandment, and he joined with them to make the Holy Family.

Reader #1Reads Luke 2:41-52 aloud.

Leader: We celebrate Holy Family Sunday the weekend after Christmas. It is our opportunity to honor Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as well as Jesus’ extended family which is shown on the icon for the World Meeting of Families. Thank you, Jesus, for such a beautiful example to follow in our own lives. Rejoice with us in times when we are showered with your many blessings. Guard us in times of turmoil, crisis, uncertainty, and loss. May we also give praise and thanksgiving to you, Jesus, for your constant love and protection and for those you have given to us as support in our family community.

Reader #2: Let us all now recite the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi together.

All: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Leader: Dear Holy Family of Jesus, keep our families strong. Help us to dedicate ourselves to the One, true, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. Let us all recite together the Prayer for the World Meeting of Families 2015. (Read together from the copy provided.)

All: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Sing a closing song together, such as “Let There Be Peace on Earth” or “We Walk by Faith.” 

Source: Today’s Catholic Teacher, August/September 2015