Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has confirmed that Pope Francis “would like to come to Ireland.” It is reported that the Pope will visit Armagh and Dublin during his historic trip.
An official invitation was issued to the Pope in January from the Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin, and the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. It’s reported that the invitation was “received positively.”
A spokesperson for the Catholic Communications Office added, "The Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, His Excellency Archbishop Charles Brown, wrote, ‘Kindly be assured the invitation will be given careful consideration.’"
A source told the Sunday Mirror, “Pope Francis has positively received the invitation. His visit will no doubt bring the country to a standstill as people turn out to see him.
“Unlike Pope John Paul II, he will also make the trip to Armagh.”
“Pope John Paul II had planned to visit there at the time, but due to security concerns it was called off.”
This will be the first Papal visit to Ireland since Pope John Paul II’s visit brought the country to a standstill in August 1979. Nearly three million people turned out to see the Pope, who said four masses in the Phoenix Park, Drogheda, Galway and Knock.
The source added that the upcoming Papal visit “will be an historic moment in Irish history.”
The Argentinian Pope also has a personal connection with Ireland. In the 1980s Francis lived with the Jesuit community for three months at the Milltown Institute on Sandford Road, in Ranelagh, South Dublin.
In 2018 thousands of families and groups will gather in Ireland. It was the Pope who chose Dublin as the venue for the gathering. He also chose the theme of “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.”
Archbishop Martin, who is president of the 2018 global church event, which takes place at a different location every three years, has given his strongest indication that a Papal visit to Ireland is in the pipeline.
Speaking at the official launch of the World Meeting of Families, which the Irish Church will host in August 2018, Martin said, “I am very hopeful that he will come.”
However, he stressed that the Pope’s program is never finalized until closer to the event and added that the Papal visit will not be confirmed until 2017. The Archbishop also pointed out that Francis’ age would be a factor as the Pope would be 81-years-old at the time.
Ireland’s leader, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, said on Friday that Archbishop Martin had told him of the Irish bishops’ invitation to the Pope. Speaking in Brussels he told the Irish Independent that if Francis accepted the invitation “the Government would respond appropriately, would welcome Pope Francis, and would make all the arrangements to treat him in a proper and respectful manner as befits his position as the head of the Catholic Church."
Martin told the crowd at St. Patrick’s College in Dublin that the organizational challenges of the global gathering made him “shiver” and emphasized that the meeting was “not a sort of spiritual traveling circus which moves around from city to city simply repeating the same performances."
The Archbishop was speaking to nearly 700 delegates who were present to discuss the massive gathering, which will take place in Dublin from August 22–26, 2018.
A planning process for the event that will involve families, parishes, schools and church groups will be rolled out over the next year. The aim of the World Meeting of Families is to identify the inadequacies of the Church's pastoral outreach to families and those who feel excluded from the Church's vision of marriage and the family.