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Pope announces 2018 Ireland visit after meeting PM

POPE Francis will visit Ireland in 2018, it was announced following a meeting with the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

The Pope met the Taoiseach and his wife Fionnuala in the Papal Library in the Apostolic Palace beside St Peter’s Square on Monday, November 29.

During their meeting the Pope and the Taoiseach discussed relations between Ireland and the Vatican, the current state of the European Union and issues relating to migration.

The couple were accompanied by Ireland’s highest-ranking civil servant, Martin Fraser, as well as Mr Kenny’s private secretary and press officer.

The two men met in April 2014 when Mr Kenny was invited to the joint canonisation of John XXII and John Paul II.

Pope Francis will visit Ireland for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, due to take place on August 22-26, 2018.

Even though the weekend’s events will mainly take place in the capital, Catholics throughout Ireland are hoping that Pope Francis will visit them, too.

The Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin, said he hoped the Pope would visit Armagh, as a planned visit by St John Paul II in 1979 was called off as a result of security concerns during the Troubles.

In County Clare, Eoin O’Hagan, a tourism operator, made a plea for the Pope to visit the Inis Cealtra (Holy Island).

Mr O’Hagan said: “If the Pope was coming to Ireland, would he not want to come to Inis Cealtra because it has so many connections back over the years to Rome and to the Catholic Church, and has survived in a pristine condition?”

Mr O’Hagan’s campaign was backed by Clare County Council and Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe, who will petition the Pope to visit Inis Cealtra when they meet in January next year.

Politicians across the spectrum hailed news of the visit.

“A visit by the Pope would be good for the country,” independent Senator David Norris said. “He is one of the very few people with a genuinely global vision on topics such as human rights, unemployment, young people, the financial system.”

Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin said that the Pope’s visit would mean more than a visit by a head of state, adding that ‘it is an honour for the many faithful and an acknowledgement that their daily and weekly deeds of devotion and faithfulness are worth something.’


—This story ran in full in the December 2 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.

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