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Sunday 19 November 2017

Pope will visit a prison and the poor during Irish visit next year - Martin

Pope Francis will visit Ireland next August for the World Meeting of Families
Pope Francis will visit Ireland next August for the World Meeting of Families

Pope Francis will go to one of Ireland's 14 prisons during his visit here next August, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has revealed.

Speaking at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral after he ordained two priests for his diocese, the Archbishop of Dublin said the Pope would also "want to meet priests when he comes" and "will want particularly to meet with the poor".

"He will, without any doubt, visit a prison," he added.

Despite considerable speculation, this is the first indication of what the Pope's agenda will be during next year's visit.

The itinerary remains unclear until the Vatican has officially confirmed that the visit is going ahead.

That confirmation is expected in January.

The archbishop is president, and therefore host, of the international World Meeting of Families 2018, which takes place from August 21 to 26. The gathering is expected to attract thousands of pilgrims from overseas.

The Pope will preside at the concluding Mass, which is most likely to be held in Croke Park on Sunday, August 26.

"He is coming for the World Meeting of Families, that is his primary purpose," said Dr Martin.

"He will focus on the many difficulties and challenges families have to face.

"He doesn't want big shows, he wants to be just present with those who are marginalised."

Dr Martin said he would like the Pope "to come to areas, particularly of Dublin, where he can see poor communities hit by poverty or difficulties".

This may suggest that a visit is being lined up to the inner city communities of his own parish, which have been plagued by gangland violence linked to the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

Saint

During the ceremony of ordination yesterday, Dr Martin told Fr James Daly and Fr Bill O'Shaughnessy that he had chosen the Feast of St Laurence O'Toole, patron of Dublin, for their ordination because the saint was from Castledermot, the same place as Fr O'Shaughnessy.

He acknowledged how, 50 years ago, the Catholic Church in Ireland played "a dominant and at times domineering role" in many aspects of Irish society.

However, he said great changes in culture and in the place of the church in society had occurred over the past five decades.

"The church can never be the closed community of the like-minded. It can never be simply a comfort zone," Dr Martin warned as he urged the new priests not to see their commitment to poverty, chastity and obedience as an allegiance of restriction but to be free from the many compromising allegian- ces such as consumerism, success, popularity, wealth or power.

Fr O'Shaughnessy has been ministering as a deacon in Springfield and Jobstown parishes in Tallaght. He has degrees in theology and philosophy.

Fr Daly worked for several years in local government and later trained as a youth minister. He is currently based in the parish of Skerries.

Dr Martin has now ordained 16 men to the diocesan priesthood since he became archbishop in 2004.

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