The talk in recent weeks has been of the forthcoming Papal visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in August and many peoples’ memories of the last Papal visit 39 years ago have been brought to life once again.

By Fr. Tom Ryan P.P.

I had the privilege of going to Galway for the Papal Mass in the Racecourse, then on to Maynooth where the Pope met over 1,000 seminarians in the Chapel early on the Monday morning of 1st October before leaving for Limerick, then on to Shannon where he bade us farewell at the airport.
In recent weeks we installed a stained glass window in SS John & Paul Church which commemorates the presence of Pope John Paul II at the airport on that famous Monday afternoon in 1979.
The forthcoming visit of Pope Francis will be different from that visit. First of all Pope Francis, at 81 years of age, is 22 years older than Pope John Paul II was at the time of his visit. Secondly, Pope John Paul II came on a pastoral visit to the country whilst Pope Francis is coming specifically for the World Meeting of Families, a gathering of the faithful that is held in a different country every three years.
Dublin was personally chosen by Pope Francis to host the 2018 World Meeting of Families from 21st to 26th August. 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.
The event has at its heart the following key moments:
21st August
The National Opening of WMOF20a8 which will take place simultaneously in all the different dioceses of Ireland.
22nd to 24th August
A three-day Congress at the RDS IN Ballsbridge where each day will reflect on the theme “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World” chosen by the Holy Father and will include an enriching programme for adults of keynote speakers, workshops, talks, testimonies and discussions; an engaging and exciting programme for young people as well as fun activities for children.
The Congress will also include a daily celebration of the Eucharist, prayerful activities, exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances.
25th August
A Festival of Families in Croke Park on Saturday evening with Pope Francis present, comprising a reflective concert style event within a prayerful and joyful atmosphere, in which personal stories of faith will be shared by families from all continents.
26th August
WMOF2018 will close on the Sunday with a solemn Eucharistic Celebration in Phoenix Park presided over by Pope Francis that will gather thousands of people from Ireland and all over the world.
The main events of WMOF2018 will take place in the RDS, Croke Park, Phoenix Park and other venues in and around the city. It is anticipated that related events, including the hosting of international groups, will take place all over the island of Ireland.
All official events will be ticketed. Thousands of families and individuals from all over Ireland and the world are expected to attend. Some people may come together, others might come on their own, others as part of an organisation. Adults and children are invited to take part.
The WMOF is organised by a host diocese chosen by the Pope. For 2018, Pope Francis chose the Archdiocese of Dublin.
To fulfil this task, the Archdiocese of Dublin has appointed a team to work with the families, young people, women and men, clergy, religious and others from all over Ireland who will be involved in planning the event. Fr. Arnold is our Diocesan representative. On 21st March 2018, Pope Francis confirmed that he will be travelling to Ireland to take part in the WMOF. His visit will bring great joy to Irish Catholics and others, as we prepare to welcome the Holy Father and thousands of families from all over the world to Ireland for this great event.
Pope Francis will attend the Festival of Families on Saturday 26th August and will celebrate an open-air Mass in the Phoenix Park on Sunday 26th August. These are the two major events of the gathering that the Pope will attend.
On Sunday 6th May the Killaloe Diocese, in preparing for the World Meeting of Families, is hosting a Family Picnic Day in the Showgrounds, Ennis from 2 pm to 5 pm. All are welcome to this free gathering where there will be entertainment and fun for all the family.

Blessing of Expectant Mothers

All couples expecting a baby in the coming weeks or months are invited to a special Blessing on Wednesday 9th May at 9 pm in the Jubilee Chapel of Mary Immaculate Church.

Trocaire says thanks to St. Caimin’s

Bishop Fintan Monahan visited St Caimin’s Community school recently to acknowledge the wonderful contribution of €86,000 raised by the school over the years for Trócaire. Bishop Fintan presented school chaplain Sharon Bulfin with a plaque on behalf of Trócaire in appreciation of the school’s great support for social justice.