Pope set to visit Ireland in 2018, Dublin archbishop says

Pope Francis is set to visit Ireland in 2018, the Archbishop of Dublin has indicated.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin invited the Pope to preside at the World Meeting of Families scheduled for Dublin in 2018.

The archbishop said in an interview with the Irish Independent last week that Francis had told him “I will come”.

The Pope added, “if I don’t come, my successor will come”.

Popes have presided at all but two of the eight World Meetings of Families, which started in 1994.

But a spokesperson for Archbishop Martin’s office later played down reports of a papal visit.

The spokesperson said speculation in the Irish Catholic newspaper about the visit was “completely without foundation”.

Archbishop Martin had been speaking casually of the Pope’s desire to visit Ireland, not officially confirming a visit, the spokesperson said.

The earliest any official announcement would be made would be in 2017, the spokesperson added.

If he visits Ireland in 2018, the Pope will also reportedly make the first ever visit by a Pontiff to Northern Ireland.

This would complete the pilgrimage of St John Paul II, who wanted to go to Northern Ireland during his 1979 visit.

But rising tensions at the time made this impossible.

A Vatican source told the Irish Catholic that it is quite possible that Pope Francis will visit other parts of Ireland in 2018.

This is because “many Irish Catholics will want to have an opportunity to attend Mass with Pope Francis”.

Among other likely stops during a 2018 papal visit would be historic monasteries and Knock Shrine.

St John Paul II visited the shrine and celebrated Mass there during his 1979 visit.


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