Pope Francis is invited to Wexford
THE Pope has been invited to County Wexford if his rumoured visit to Ireland goes ahead in August, 2018.
Chair of Wexford County Council, Cllr Tony Dempsey and Mayor Cllr Ger Carthy yesterday (Monday) signed a formal invitation to Pope Francis, with the mayor saying that his home turf of Lady's Island would make a fitting location.
The invitation comes as hopes rise of a possible visit by the Pope to Ireland in 2018, which would be the first papal visit to this country since 1979.
It is understood that the Pontiff's representative in Dublin, Archbishop Charles Brown, has already held high-level talks with senior government figures and there is now increasing confidence in relation to the possibility of such a visit.
The logistical challenges surrounding a visit by the Pontiff to Wexford are considerable, and the invitation by Wexford County Council is evidence of the local authority's full support of the ambitious plan to secure the Model County as part of a possible 2018 papal visit itinerary.
'As the possibility of a 2018 papal visit to Ireland increases, we join with people all over Ireland in praying for its success. Wexford County Council, on behalf of the people of Wexford, would be honoured to support a visit by His Holiness to our County and we pledge to do our utmost to help make this ambitious plan a reality,' said Cllr Dempsey.
Cllr Carthy, who comes from Our Lady's Island, said: 'We are blessed in having a very ancient Marian pilgrimage site in the diocese - Our Lady's Island - renowned for its tranquillity and unspoilt setting. It would make a most fitting and unique location for a visit by His Holiness and would be a wonderful recognition of Lady's Island which is such a special place and which has been a place of pilgrimage and prayer for centuries.'
Dates of a possible visit by Pope Francis to Ireland in 2018 have been announced as August 22 to 26, 2018, coinciding with the World Meeting of Families, which will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Dublin.