Wednesday 20 September 2017

Religious calling: Volunteers sought for Francis's visit

Pope Francis Picture: Reuters
Pope Francis Picture: Reuters
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Thousands of volunteers are being sought to help organise the visit by Pope Francis at next summer's World Meeting of Families.

The Dublin archdiocese announced it is seeking around 3,000 volunteers to help organise and officiate at the six-day gathering in August 2018, which it is calling a "once-in-a-generation event."

Pope Francis announced the Dublin Archdiocese would host next year's event. Although the church has not officially confirmed whether he will attend, the Pontiff announced his intention to visit here in 2018 during a meeting at the Vatican with outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny last November.

Volunteers include ambassadors, stewards and ushers as well as those providing skills in communications, music, medical services, translation and other services.

The faithful are also being asked to open their doors to pilgrims from around the world.

Pilgrims from as far afield as Peru, Ecuador and Bangladesh are among thousands of Catholic families who will descend on Dublin for six days.

But due to the significant cost of travelling here, the Dublin archdiocese has launched a 'Host a Pilgrim/Family' programme to help the faithful offset their travel and accommodation costs.

Event secretary general Timothy Bartlett is urging any family or individual over the age of 18 and "respectful of the Catholic ethos" of the event to embrace the true spirit of céad míle fáilte and open their homes to those in need of a place to stay during the event as well as volunteer their time and skills.

The gathering was first held in Rome in 1994 and is now held every three years around the world. Next year's event will be the ninth held to date.

Irish Independent

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