tod_francisChristendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell will join other prominent theologians and speakers at this year’s World Meeting of the Families, held in Philadelphia from September 22-27. Sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family, the five-day event will feature renowned theologians speaking on a variety of topics related to issues of the family, before concluding with Pope Francis’ first papal visit to the United States on September 26-27. The event, which includes a four-day “congress”, a “festival of families” on Saturday, and a Papal Mass on Sunday is expected to draw close to 2 million attendees from 150 nations.

When he arrives in Philadelphia, O’Donnell, a consulter to the Pontifical Council for the Family, will speak in a breakout session entitled “Rebuild My Church and Start from the Foundation: Living as ‘Domestic Church’” on Wednesday, September 23.  O’Donnell will be speaking with other co-panelists, touching upon the theme of this year’s World Meeting of the Families: “Love is the Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”

O’Donnell was appointed to the Pontifical Council for the Family in 2002 by Pope St. John Paul II —an appointment that was renewed in 2009 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and in 2014 by Pope Francis.  As a consulter, O’Donnell has delivered addresses during plenary assemblies of the Pontifical Council and has been charged with drafting reports for the Vatican on the state of the family based on the insights of the English speaking countries.

O’Donnell will join renowned speakers such as Father Robert Barron, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Robert Cardinal Sarah, and Doctors Juan Francisco de la Guardia Brin and Gabriela N. de la Guardia at the congress, which will consist of keynote presentations and breakout sessions that address the many ways in which families can strengthen their bonds, especially in the face of the significant challenges facing the family in the 21st century.

The World Meeting of the Families was begun in 1994, the Year of the Family, by Pope St. John Paul II in order to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe. Since its inauguration, the World Meetings have been held every three years, in such locations as Rome (1994); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015).

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