Pope Francis is offered and invitation to visit Our Lady's Island
Pope Francis might be paying a visit to Our Lady's Island if he takes up the offer recently extended to him by five members of the parish.
Louise Morris, Helen Ellard, Olga Thompson, Con Morris and Fr Jim Cogley recently travelled to Rome for the World Convention of Marian Shrines in St Peters. Following the gathering, they offered a personal invitation to Pope Francis to visit Our Lady's Island when he comes to Ireland.
In a homily in Lady's Island the following Sunday, Fr Cogley explained to everyone how the invitation came about.
'Seven years ago when this little book called 'Wood You Believe, The Spiritual Self' was published, one of the reviewers said that he was so impressed that he would like to see it given to the Pope. I laughed at the suggestion since it seemed both absurd and impossible. But he reminded me to remember what I had written about the power of faith in the book - to put it out there and believe the impossible.'
Fr Cogley packed a copy of his book along with the Our Lady's Island booklet and a copy of the banner that was carried during the ceremony into a parcel. He then entrusted Olga with delivering it to the Pope.
'I reckoned that if there was any woman on the planet who could talk her way to the Pope it had to be Olga so I entrusted the package to her along with an invitation saying, "Your Holiness. We will welcome you to Our Lady's Island when you come to visit Ireland",' said Fr Cogley.
'Olga was a woman with a mission and as the proceedings were coming to a close, out of the corner of my eye I spotted her on the Papal Platform beside the Pope chatting up his chief of security and giving him the book, the Island booklet and our invitation. How about that for the power of Faith? If the heavens hadn't opened just then it would have been the Pope she would have been chatting up and we could have ended up having lunch at the Vatican.'
The recent event in Rome is one of five main events hosted by the Pope in association with the Holy Year of Mercy. Lu Morris and Helen Ellard were invited to go as banner bearers and Olga, Con and Fr Cogley decided to travel with them.
'The Marian Gathering on the Friday evening was simply amazing and to be the first people in history to represent Our Lady's Island in St Peter's was such an unbelievable privilege. As we emerged from the Papal Courtyard at the side of the Basilica carrying the banner of the Island, there must have been a million people cheering and right in front of us were a large group of Irish who nearly went wild shouting, 'Our Lady's Island 15th of August.' It was so emotionally overpowering as to bring tears to a stone,' said Fr Cogley.