World Meeting of Families logoPope Francis has made going green even more in style, and he has Cardinal Peter Turkson to thank for it.

Cardinal Turkson, archbishop emeritus of Cape Coast, Ghana, has come into the international spotlight lately for his work on drafting the pope’s encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” published this June.

The cardinal will be leading a breakout session of the World Meeting of Families on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 23 (4:15 to 5:15 p.m.) titled “Caring for Creation: Pope Francis and Environmental Stewardship.”


The session will focus on how environmental concerns can also be social concerns, including how neglect of the natural world can impact how people raise their families, both in the United States and globally.

In his address to delegates at the July World Meeting of Social Movements conference in Bolivia, Cardinal Turkson advised that people “move forward in a process of change in defense of the Earth and of human dignity,” with political and religious leaders initiating change.

Cardinal Peter Turkson of of Ghana is president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Cardinal Peter Turkson of of Ghana is president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

“We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental,” he said. “Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”

Cardinal Turkson is president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, and frequently advocates for worldwide environmental justice, influenced by the Catholic social teaching to care for God’s creation.

Though he is mainly concerned with environmental justice, he also writes and travels the world to promote the Church’s social teaching, and additionally leads retreats.

Another presenter who is concerned about the well-being of families in the future is Dr. Melissa Anderson — though not concerning the physical world; rather, the digital one.

Anderson’s session on “Navigating the Net: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Being an Online Family” (Sept. 23, 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.) will explore and discuss the effects of exposing children to screens at such a young age, and how to navigate these effects that may ripple into family life.

The session will also utilize current research on the brain and technology, as well as discuss how kids’ moral decisions are shaped, especially through content on the Internet.

Anderson has no lack of experience when it comes to the intersection of family life and technology. She is a licensed child psychologist currently at the Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, and works with nonprofit organizations to develop child-centered programs and services.

She also has experience in working with topics such as moral conscience development, leadership in girls, eating disorders and balancing family and technology, and has organized workshops for parents and teachers in these areas.

All the presentations for the Wednesday afternoon sessions (4:15 to 5:15 p.m.) are in English except where noted (some with translations), and they include:

Andrés and Kathia Arango: “The Building Blocks and the Cornerstone: Building Familial Love Through Everyday Practices” (in Spanish)

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson: “Caring for Creation: Pope Francis and Environmental Stewardship”

Bishop Jean Lafitte: “’Given Up for You:’ The Eucharist as a Model for the Family” (in Italian)

Father Rafael Capó, Sch.P., Andrea Blanco, William Cardona, Rey Malavé and Emmabel Malavé: “The Hispanic Family in the Context of a Multicultural Society” (in Spanish)

Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart Gaes, S.S.V.M., Mother Adela Galindo, S.C.T.J.M., Sister Regina Marie Gorman, O.C.D., and Mother Ann Marie Karlovic, O.P.: “House Calls: Fostering Vocations in the Home”

Dr. Timothy T. O’Donnell: “Rebuild My Church … and Start from the Foundation: Living as ‘Domestic Church’” (in English with simultaneous interpretation into Vietnamese)

Dr. Melissa Anderson: “Navigating the Net: The Benefits and Obstacles of Being an Online Family”

Christine Codden: “’When I was Hungry’: Providing for the Material and Spiritual Needs of the Family at the Local Parish” (in English with American Sign Language simultaneously interpreted)

Dr. Janet Smith: “Loving the Elderly”

Andrew and Terri Lyke: “Marriage: A (Sacra)Mental State”

Michéle Boulva: “A House Undivided: Christ as Unifier of a Blended Family” (in French)

Ignacio Ibarzábal, Dr. Cristián Conen, Paola Delbosco and Father Fabián Báez: “Families, a Gift to Society” (in Spanish)

Father Dempsey Rosales-Acosta, SSL, STD: “Lectio Divina: Praying with Scripture to Connect with the Living God”

Dr. Alessandro Sona, Rev. Nicky Lee, Sila Lee and Rev. Tory Baucum; moderator: Msgr. Renzo Bonetti: “Family – Domestic Church: Way of Evangelization and Ecumenism”

Dr. Andres Salazar, Dr. Villamor Vital and Dr. Gérard-François Dumont: “Family and Demographic Dynamics in the World” (in a mixture of English and French with English simultaneously interpreted)


A complete list of all keynote speakers and breakout sessions can be found on the Speakers and Activities section of the World Meeting of Families website.