Sep 29, 2015

2018 World Meeting of Families

Bishop says Pontiff’s visit would be a moment of great renewal

Tuesday, 29 September 2015: Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has said that a visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in 2018 would be a huge moment of renewal for the Church.


Responding to news that the next World Meeting of Families is to take place in Ireland and the possibility of a papal visit for the gathering, Bishop Leahy said it was too soon to say if this would happen but should it go ahead, it would be a pivotal moment for the Church here.


“Anyone who had the joy of experiencing and can recall Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ireland in 1979 would recall the wave of enchantment and deep spirituality that came over the country around that visit.


“It was one of the great moments in the history of Limerick and should Pope Francis return to Ireland and Limerick, I have every confidence it would be the same all over again.


“It’s a different Ireland today in so many ways and we have had many issues as a Church but I believe people would still want to go and see the Pope in Ireland, re-living experiences they heard about from their parents or grandparents.


“A visit by the Pontiff would be a pivotal moment for the Church. It would give us a sense of renewal, a new beginning.  Healing within the Church is underway, I believe, and it will be a process that takes time but a visit by the Pontiff would really accelerate that.”


Bishop Leahy, however, said that while he believes the Pope has a desire to come to Ireland and help with that very healing, a visit is still a long way off.  “It would be such a moment of celebration for Ireland, of faith and the family and, indeed, an opportunity again to reach out to the margins.


“We must, however, take nothing for granted as it is three years away and there are certainly no guarantees that Pope Francis will be in a position, either diary wise or health wise to come.


“But we will pray that a visit will happen and I would certainly hope that he follows Pope John Paul II’s footsteps and come to Limerick. The welcome would be huge from a city and county where the Catholic faith has played such an important role.”