Record numbers expected to attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin

Record-breaking numbers will descend on Dublin for the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) that takes place this week.

More than 37,000 people from 116 different countries are expected to attend the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) for a series of events as part of the Catholic festival.

Families and pilgrimage groups will travel to Africa, Canada, Europe, Australia and India for the three-day event.

WMOF spokeswoman Brenda Drumm said that many of the visitors will be families.

A gigantic altar is built for outdoor masses as part of the World Meeting of Families that takes place at the RDS in Dublin (Niall Carson / PA)

"We have between 12,000 and 14,000 foreign visitors and the rest comes from Ireland," she said.

"We will have about 6500 people under the age of 18, and to put that in perspective, for the last meeting of the world families in Philadelphia, the pastoral congress was attended by 17,000 people and there were 800 under 18.

"This is a paid event, all adults pay to come here, while children under 18 are free.

"We have become a record-breaking event in a number of different ways.

"We use an enormous number of square meters for our tents and use every bit of space available, and we have special tent areas for children and young people."

Approximately 20,000 people will attend the daily Mass on the RDS, while some 290 speakers, including 90 laymen and 65 lay people, will cover a wide range of topics.

"We handle everything from technology to domestic violence, trafficking in human beings, the impact of technology on family prayer," added Ms. Drumm.

"People will also listen to about 44 bishops, cardinals and priests who also speak at the events.

"There is something for everyone here.

"We worked hard on this for three years and want to offer people a joyful family experience."

Meanwhile, Jane Mellett, a pastoral worker and project coordinator for Our Common Home, WMOF's eco-project, helped to transform the parking garage in the monastery of St. Damian into a temporary garden.

More than two days a group of 10 volunteers came together and transformed the empty space into an environmentally friendly green area.

Landscape architect Aidan Ffrench designed and supervised the project that is open to those who visit the WMOF.

Mellett said: "The purpose of space is to give pilgrims a contemplative place, to reflect on their relationship with nature and to take the time of the festival."

The newest holy well of Ireland was also specially built by the stonemason Phil O & # 39; Neill for the garden.

"We are amazed at how this came together and we hope that pilgrims use it to think about their own relationship with creation," Mellett added.

– Press Association

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