Pope Francis has confirmed he is coming to Ireland this summer, marking the first papal visit since Pope John Paul II’s historic visit in 1979.
The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference today warmly welcomed the announcement today by the Holy Father will attend part of the 9th World Meeting of Families, which will take place from 21 – 26 August in Dublin on the theme, ‘The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World’.
It has not been confirmed yet whether the Pope will travel north of the border during his visit to Ireland, with his full schedule to be released at a later date.
Pope Francis, who is 81 years of age, will arrive in Dublin on Saturday, 25 August, and will take part in the ‘Festival of Families’ in Croke Park.
The next day, Sunday 26 August, hundreds of thousands of people will gather to see Pope Francis celebrate at Holy Mass in the Phoenix Park, and this liturgy will bring to a conclusion the World Meeting of Families 2018.
In a statement the bishops of Ireland said: “On behalf of the faithful of Ireland we warmly welcome today’s announcement, by the Holy Father himself, that he plans to visit Dublin in August for the World Meeting of Families.
“We are deeply honoured that Pope Francis will come to our country to participate in this universal Church celebration of faith and joy, as well as of the contemporary challenges which face families. With great anticipation we also look forward to hearing the apostolic guidance of His Holiness during his stay with us.”
They continued: “Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, as President of the World Meeting of Families 2018, has been charged with undertaking the significant task of organising this global celebration and each of the other 25 dioceses on the island of Ireland is supporting the host diocese to ensure its success for the whole country and for the world.
“We eagerly await the visit of Pope Francis which no doubt will be an occasion of spiritual renewal for our laity, religious and clergy as well as a strengthening of Christian family life.”
Pope Francis’ visit in August will be the second visit of a pope to Ireland. From 29 September to 1 October 1979 Saint Pope John Paul II visited Dublin, Drogheda, Clonmacnois, Galway, Knock, Maynooth, Limerick and Shannon.