You could not have attended the various events that made up the Pope's visit to Ireland without experiencing a deep sense of personal and collective joy generated by the charismatic presence of His Holiness Pope Francis. It is his charisma that is the key to understanding this outstanding pastor and his spiritual leadership of the Catholic Church.
To experience that at first-hand is the only way of appreciating his intimate teaching role. His presence is uplifting, reassuring and transcends the frenetic muddle of our ordinary mixed-up lives. You come away re-energised and reaffirmed in Christian belief and the simple message of the Gospel, which is to love all, especially those who are marginalised and need our help, whether it be material or spiritual.
Above all, it is the spiritual and the divine which he reawakens in our minds and hearts. That was the collective experience of thousands of Catholics who attended the Mass in Phoenix Park, or the Festival of Families concert in Croke Park in Dublin, and the Marian shrine at Knock in Co Mayo.
Most moving was the visit to the Capuchin centre for the homeless in Dublin, headed by Brother Kevin. There you could see plainly the humility of Francis as he chatted with the users of the day centre and the people who quietly volunteer to provide food and support for those who have been broken down by the burden of our often demanding and unrelenting contemporary way of life.
The Pope spoke about restoring tenderness to our ordinary everyday vocabulary and creating a "revolution of love".
Throughout his visit he talked about family and its enormous value in supporting children growing up in a fractious and challenging world. The simple things like a gentle kiss or touch by spouses, he good humouredly said, does much to demonstrate to children the love between parents within the family. He said that when parents quarrelled they should make up before going to bed, otherwise the next day will bring about a cold war.
Simple but effective advice to a world of broken or torn personal relationships. A world that sees marriage as irrelevant and a society that seeks instant gratification, often lacking commitment to anyone or anything.
While thousands of Catholics experienced the joy of the Pope's visit in a genuinely happy and inspiring way, the Irish media went out of their way to be begrudging and belittling about it. Despite the enormous crowds lining the streets of Dublin or attending the various events, the media, especially RTE, quibbled about the numbers, comparing this visit to Pope John Paul II's in 1979.
Nobody knows the exact figures, but what is certain is that no other outside visitor could have produced the numbers of people that spontaneously lined the streets of Dublin.
The strength of numbers was enough to surprise the media and to make the political elite in Dublin feel uncomfortable.
RTE seemed to relish in featuring critics of the Catholic Church, whose only aim was to knock the Pope and the Church itself. In my opinion, it affected to be concerned about the way the Church had dealt with victims of clerical sex abuse, but it seemed to me that its agenda was to undermine and belittle the crystal clear personal plea to God for forgiveness by the Pope during the Phoenix Park Mass for those grave sins committed by clerics against children. That plea was pointedly made by the Pope during the penitential rite of the Mass and was applauded by the many thousands of participants at that service. There was absolutely no attempt by Francis to evade responsibility for the grave offences carried out by priests and others in the Church.
But there was no serious attempt by the media at a balanced assessment of the actual visit for the thousands of Catholics that saw, or even met, Pope Francis.
Their positive reaction was ignored by the media, but by voting with their feet and walking harmoniously and happily for many miles to and back from various venues, they publicly demonstrated a deep and continuing commitment to the Christian message of faith, hope and love.
As this visit by the Pope was to the World Meeting of Families, there were participants from all over the globe there, which greatly added to and hugely energised the various meetings, workshops and other events. It also in particular highlighted the universality of the Church in the world today.
But it was the very evident presence at all events of significant numbers of the "New Irish", such as Filipinos and Poles, that was particularly encouraging for ordinary, Irish-born Catholics, as it represents a strengthening of Catholic belief and faith.
Despite the curmudgeonly attitude of the media, the real story of Pope Francis' visit is that something good has happened to the Catholic Church in Ireland - but whether it is good enough remains to be seen.