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Pope's 'love for Ireland' boosts chance of visit

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Archbishop Charles Brown

Archbishop Charles Brown

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

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Archbishop Charles Brown

THE possibility of a papal visit to Ireland has been given a further boost after the Pope's representative here spoke about the Pontiff's great affection for the Irish people.

Speaking during a visit to Moyross, in Limerick, Archbishop Charles Brown said it would be "his biggest joy" as Papal Nuncio to have Pope Francis visit Ireland.

His comments come just days after Ireland's new ambassador to the Holy See presented her letters of credentials to the Pope in the Vatican.

Pope Francis and Ambassador Emma Madigan had a private conversation about developments in Ireland and her hope that he might visit Ireland in the future.

Speaking at Corpus Christi Church in Moyross yesterday, Dr Brown recalled a long private meeting with Pope Francis when Ireland was also discussed.

"I was with him this summer for a nice meeting, just the two of us, in July. I know he has a great love for the Irish people and a special appreciation for the Irish people's love for the mother of God, Mary, which is very, very close to his heart."

Dr Brown said there are many links between Ireland and Pope Francis - who studied English in Dublin in the 1970s. "It would be the biggest joy I would ever have as Apostolic Nuncio in Ireland to have the Pope visit Ireland . . . With God all things are possible, so we just have to see," he added.

Devotion

Yesterday's Mass in Moyross, which was also celebrated by Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy and Bishop Donal Murray, was centred around the creation of a sculpture and painting entitled 'Our Lady, Undoer of Knots' - a well-known favourite devotion of Pope Francis.

Local Parish Priest Fr Tony O'Riordan said the visit of the Papal Nuncio was hugely significant for the community of Moyross, which continues to suffer the effects of large-scale unemployment, particularly among its youth.

"It's a great honour to have established a link between us and the current Pope, whose agenda resonates very much with us here in Moyross. His concern for justice and fairness and his call again and again for help for youth unemployment, that's certainly something that resonates with me and resonates here with lots of us."

Fr O'Riordan, who recently made headlines after he called on Church authorities to sell off its unused gold to help fund a teaching post in the local primary school, said he was hoping to have a quiet word with the archbishop about his campaign.

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The Moyross-based priest said the teacher's salary is still being paid for privately but this is only a temporary measure, insisting the solution ultimately lies with the Department of Education.

"That can't continue for ever. We don't have the resources and we won't have the resources," he said.


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