Belfast Telegraph

Pope Francis set to visit prison during trip to Ireland

By Sarah MacDonald

Pope Francis will visit one of the Republic's 14 prisons during his trip next August, the Archbishop of Dublin has revealed.

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

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

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

The exact itinerary remains unclear until the Vatican officially confirms that the visit is going ahead. That confirmation is expected in January.

Dr Martin will host the international World Meeting of Families, which will run place in Ireland from August 21 to 26 next year. The Pope will preside at the concluding Mass, which will most likely be held in Croke Park on August 26.

"He is coming for the World Meeting of Families, that is his primary purpose. He will focus on the many difficulties and challenges families have to face," Dr Martin said yesterday.

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

Archbishop 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 the Archbishop is lining up a visit to the inner-city communities of his own parish which have been plagued by gangland violence.

During the solemn 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 said great changes had taken place over the past five decades in Irish culture and in the place of the Church in society.

"The Church can never be the closed community of the like-minded. It can never be simply a comfort zone," he warned.

Belfast Telegraph

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