Vatican officials have announced the next World Meeting of Families will be held in Dublin, in 2018.

The World Meeting of Families was the main reason for Pope Francis coming to the United States and is widely expected he will be in Dublin in two years time.

Speculation Pope Francis may visit Ireland in 2018 as next World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin http://t.co/y3GMOHkaDB

— Caitriona Perry (@CaitrionaPerry) September 27, 2015

Next World Meeting of Families is in 2018 - Dublin, Ireland #WMF2018 #WMF2015 #PopeFrancis #PopeinUS #PopeInPhilly #PopeInDC #Family

— Fr. Franklin Joseph (@FrFranklin) September 27, 2015

Ireland was at the center of the priest abuse scandal and the church has suffered heavily there from its consequences. In addition, the Irish people recently approved a change to the Irish constitution to allow gay marriage ignoring church efforts to get them to vote against.

There has also been a flood of new immigrants into Ireland. Pope Francis has made clear his empathy for immigrants and the need to welcome them.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Catholic primate for Ireland, told the media he was delighted to hear the news.

He noted that Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, was in Philadelphia with a delegation from Ireland to meet with Francis and lobby for Dublin. The World Family meeting is held every three years.

In a statement Martin said “The family in Ireland is strong and the Church is called to take up the challenge of ensuring that future Catholic generations are prepared to live their marriage as an itinerary of faith.”

The first and only papal visit to Ireland was in September 1979 when Pope John Paul II visited Dublin, Knock, Limerick, Drogheda and Galway.

Francis finished his ten day visit to Cuba and the US with yesterday's mass in Philadelphia before a huge attendance. His trip was rated a huge success by both Vatican and American experts.

Francis capped a 10-day trip to Cuba and the United States by celebrating a Mass in front of hundreds of thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia on Sunday.

Read more: My day with 80,000 people in Central Park to see Pope Francis

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