Two Irish families will present the official World Meeting of Families 2018 ‘Icon of the Holy Family’ to Pope Francis in Rome during his weekly General Audience in Saint Peterʼs Square in Rome tomorrow, Wednesday 21 March 2018. The two Irish families making the trip will be the Tobin family from Kildare and the Bushell family who now live in Rome.
The World Meeting of Families delegation will be led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, President of WMOF2018 and includes Father Tim Bartlett, Secretary General of WMOF2018 and the iconographer Mr Mihai Cucu.
The Tobin family are from Newbridge in Co Kildare. Mum and Dad Brenda and Bryan have been married for 22 years and will travel with their two children Emma (20) and Cathal (13) as well as Grandmother Maureen Tobin. Bryan is a former member of the Irish Defence Forces and is currently working with Storyful in Dublin. Brenda has been working as Communications Officer with the Catholic Communications Office for the past 17 years and is currently on secondment to the World Meeting of Families 2018. Emma is a final year student in UCD and Cathal is in his first year of second level education at the Patrician Secondary School in Newbridge.
The Bushell family comprises Mum and Dad, Mary and Michael and their two children Olivia (7) and Molly (5). Mary originally comes from Tang in Westmeath, and Michael comes from Knocklyon in Dublin. The family moved to Rome in 2016. Michael is currently on leave from An Garda Síochána to take up a position with the United Nations (World Food Programme). Mary is a nurse manager who worked for over 17 years in Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin, and is currently on leave from Tallaght Children’s Hospital. Molly and Olivia are attending an English speaking school in Rome. Olivia is also currently preparing for her First Holy Communion at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.
The official icon for the World Meeting of Families was anointed by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at Mass to mark the one year countdown to WMOF2018 which was held in Knock, Co Mayo on 21 August 2017. Since then the icon has been brought from parish to parish across Ireland as part of a pilgrimage to help parishes prepare for WMOF2018.
Pope Francis chose Dublin to host the next World Meeting of Families from 21-26 August 2018. The 2018 theme is ‘The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World’. Held every three years, this major international event brings together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect upon the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church. For more information, please see www.worldmeeting2018.ie.