Archbishop says Pope’s trip a ‘gift’ to Ireland

Archbishop says Pope’s trip a ‘gift’ to Ireland
Papal schedule announced


Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said that the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in August “must not be just a once-off event” and insisted that the Church has to see it as an opportunity for renewal.

Speaking as the Vatican announced details of the Pope’s visit, Dr Martin said he hopes the Pope’s trip “will open out for families renewed inspiration, hope and healing”.

He said that the pastoral visit of the Pope comes “as the Church in Ireland struggles to find a new place in Irish society and culture – a very different one from the dominant one it held in the past”.

Francis will arrive in Dublin early on the morning of Saturday August 25 for meeting with President Michael D. Higgins and State dignitaries as well as members of the diplomatic corps.

He will also make a private visit to the Capuchin Day Centre for homeless families run by Capuchin Franciscans in Dublin before presiding on Saturday evening at the ‘Festival of Families’ in Croke Park.

The following morning, the Pontiff will travel to the West to visit the Marian shrine of Knock where witnesses reported a vision of Our Lady with St Joseph, St John the Evangelist and the Lamb of God in 1879. After just an hour at the shrine, the Pope will fly back to Dublin where he will preside at the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Phoenix Park. Organisers are planning for up to 600,000 people to attend the Mass. After a meeting with the country’s bishops’ conference, the Pope will fly back to Rome on Sunday evening.

As expected, the Pope will not visit the North during the short trip. Northern bishops and key players in the peace process have described this as a missed opportunity.

The leaders of the four main Protestant Churches in Ireland also wrote personally to Pope Francis asking him to visit Northern Ireland. They expressed the view that it would assist reconciliation between the Protestant and Catholic communities and further cement the peace process in the region.

Details were also released June 11 of the pastoral congress for WMOF2018 which will take place on the days preceding the Pope’s arrival. It will include a series of workshops, talks and events aimed at exploring the Church’s teaching around marriage and family.

The August 25-26 trip will be the first papal visit to Ireland since 1979 when Pope St John Paul II became the first Pope ever to visit Ireland. There was huge disappointment at the time that he was unable to go to the North due to an upsurge in violence.

As well as Irish participants, thousands of pilgrims are expected to travel to Dublin from all over the world for the World Meeting of Families.


Full papal itinerary:


Saturday, August 25

08:15               Departure by plane from Rome for Dublin

10:30               Arrival at Dublin Airport for Official Welcome

10:45               Transfer to Áras an Uachtaráin

11:15                Welcome Ceremony with President Michael D. Higgins

12:10                Arrival at Dublin Castle for meeting with authorities, civil society and diplomatic corps.

15:30                Visit to St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.

16:30                Private visit to the Capuchin Day Centre

19:45                Preside at the Festival of Families at Croke Park.


Sunday, August 26

08:40                Departure by plane for Knock

09:45                Arrival at Knock Shrine for visit to the Apparition Chapel and recitation of the Angelus.

11:15                Departure by plane for Dublin

12:30                 Lunch with the Papal Delegation

15:00                 Closing Papal Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Phoenix Park followed by a meeting with the Irish bishops.

18:30                 Farewell ceremony at Dublin Airport.

18:45                 Departure by plane for Rome.

23:00                  Arrival in Rome.