BUSLOADS of Fermanagh people are expected to make their way down the country for the Pope’s visit this weekend.
The Pope arrives in Dublin on Saturday, and will spend two days here as part of the World Meeting of Families.
Pope Francis is expected to draw significantly smaller crowds than the last papal trip to Ireland by John Paul II nearly 40 years ago, but Parish Priest of St Michael’s Monsignor Peter O’Reilly says there is huge excitement around the visit.
“We are looking forward to these days of the World Meeting of Families, which is the cause of the visit of Pope Francis in the first place.
“He personally chose Ireland because it has such a strong religious memory and because Ireland has given so many people to the mission Christ has given to the Church. We have quite a few families going to Dublin over the various days and there are over fifty local people attending the Papal Mass on Sunday. We also have a number of families attending the Festival of Families on Saturday in Croke Park. I know that there is huge excitement for those going,” said Monsignor O’Reilly.
Other parishes throughout the county will also be represented as tickets have been in high demand.
Fr Jimmy McPhillips, Parish Priest in Derrygonnelly said, “we had an amazing interest after I announced the ticket allocation. Each Parish in the country were allocated 10 tickets for the Saturday night event and I have over 50 enquiries.”
During his first day, Pope Francis will visit Aras an Uachtarain to meet President Michael D Higgins before going to Dublin Castle to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as well as church leaders, the Council of State, Government MEPs, political party leaders and members of the judiciary.
After that, he will visit St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral before making a private visit to the Capuchin Fathers day centre for homeless families where he will meet 80 people who are homeless.
On Saturday night, the Pope will give an address to the Festival of Families extravaganza at Croke Park where around 70,000 people are expected at the two-hour Croke Park concert, which includes Enniskillen resident Nathan Carter, Italian tenor Andrew Botcelli, Daniel O’Donnell and Riverdance.
On Sunday, he will arrive in Knock and say the Angelus, before travelling back to Dublin to say mass in Phoenix Park at 3pM and will return to Rome on Sunday evening.