The sound of the phones ringing at the Parish Office at St Aidan's Cathedral has been a common one over the past few weeks. With the historic visit of Pope Francis to Ireland drawing finally nearly upon us, interest is at a peak and people are keen to organise the last-minute details ahead of the mass migration to Dublin to catch a glimpse of 'Il Papa'.
The parish was quick on its feet and organised a bus to Dublin almost immediately after ticket information was issued. However, it wasn't long before seats on the bus became hot property as well.
'I think on the second day after we initially announced the bus travelling to Dublin, he had to organise a second one,' said Fr Odhrán Furlong, pictured right. 'The interest in it was huge. The phone in the office is hopping for the past few weeks with people looking to get information about the visit and trying to get their hands on last minute tickets.'
Two buses will run on two days from St Aidan's. Firstly, two coaches will depart the Cathedral tomorrow (Wednesday) morning bound for the RDS for the World Meeting of Families Conference. Taking place over four days it will include talks, activities for young and old, prayerful activities, musical performances and much more.
The same two buses will again depart on the Sunday for Mass in the Phoenix Park with Pope Francis and quite a few others have plans to travel to events in Croke Park on the Saturday as well. While some people had expressed concerns about the distances they will be expected to walk to gain access to Phoenix Park on the day, Fr Odhrán says he's confident that things should run smoothly.
'It seems very well co-ordinated,' he said. 'I think there are rest stops and water stops and places where you can get food and that kind of thing the whole way into the Phoenix Park, so hopefully everybody will be able to manage okay.'
It's also set to be a busy evening at St Aidan's Cathedral on Tuesday night as the World Meeting of Families kicks off with a special service. 'We're hosting a special service to start the week on Tuesday at 7.30 p.m.,' Fr Odhrán explained. 'We're hoping every parish in the county will be represented and we also have community groups involved. It promises to be a great night and great week.'