Thursday 18 October 2018

Developer Comer answers Church cash appeal for Papal visit

 

All 45,000 tickets for the Pope’s visit to Knock Shrine were booked out within four hours. Photo: Getty
All 45,000 tickets for the Pope’s visit to Knock Shrine were booked out within four hours. Photo: Getty
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

Billionaire developer Luke Comer has emerged as one of the scions of Irish business to tender a substantial financial donation for the forthcoming visit to Ireland by Pope Francis.

The Monaco-based developer said that he was one of "many" business people and companies donating towards the World Meeting of Families, to be held for the first time in Ireland this August.

"We all turn to God in some way," said Comer, who acknowledged a number of recent controversies surrounding the Catholic Church in Ireland, including its stance towards women.

"Whilst a lot of bad has been said about the Church, a lot of good has come from it too," said Comer, adding that he believes Pope Francis to be "a good man". With less than 50 days to go to the largest single event to be held in Ireland since the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979, the Catholic Church has appealed to corporations and high-net-worth individuals to help it reach its €20m fundraising target.

"We are still actively seeking support for this global event and we would welcome any further interest from corporates and individuals," said a spokesperson for the WMOF, which confirmed a series of business breakfasts will be held as part of the papal festivities. The WMOF said it is just over halfway to its fundraising goal, with three national collections in parishes raising €1m each. A further €1m is expected to be raised from another collection that was held last month.

All 45,000 tickets for the Pope's visit to Knock Shrine were booked out within four hours and organisers say they are "very close" to having all 500,000 tickets for the WMOF2018 Closing Mass in Phoenix Park booked out.

The WMOF has closed registration of its three-day Pastoral Congress at the RDS, with some 12,000 of the 37,000 pilgrims coming from overseas.

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