The Pope is to follow the Queen to Ireland – and will celebrate mass at Croke Park in Dublin in June, 2012.
Pope Benedict is also expected to make history and lead the first Papal tour of Northern Ireland.
Newspaper reports on Monday morning claim that Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in Ireland next year to close the International Eucharistic Congress hosted in the capital.
The Vatican has yet to confirm plans for the first Papal visit to the Republic since 1979 and the first ever to Northern Ireland.
But the Irish Independent’s religious affairs correspondent John Cooney has claimed that the Pope will be the chief celebrant at a Mass in Dublin’s Croke Park on June 17th, 2012.
The open air service will mark the end of a week-long International Eucharistic Congress.
The 2012 visit by the Pope is bound to spark reaction if not protests from the victims of clerical sex abuse after the Vatican’s refusal to co-operate with the commission of inquiry into the archdiocese of Dublin.
The Indo reports that: “Pope Benedict selected Dublin as the venue for the world congress to foster spiritual renewal, in the wake of the clerical child abuse scandals and cover-ups which damaged the standing of the Irish church.”
Pope Benedict visited England and Scotland last September but Northern Ireland was not included on his itinerary for that trip.
Pope John Paul II had planned to visit Ulster in 1979 but the proposals were scrapped due to the Troubles.
Plans for the International Eucharistic Congress will be unveiled in Dublin on Monday.
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