Catholic Bishops’ invitation to the Holy Father to visit Ireland has been accepted ‘in principle’

16 Jul 2004




Special Papal message to the Irish people has been requested for
September 19th next to commemorate visit by His Holiness 25 years ago

The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has responded to the formal invitation
by the Irish Bishops’ Conference to pay a return visit to Ireland to mark
the twenty-fifth anniversary of his first visit on September 29th, 1979.

The Most Reverend Dr Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All
Ireland today said, “Our invitation request has been placed before the Holy
Father and a reply has been received from the Vatican’s Secretariat of
State indicating that the proposed visit has, in principle, been accepted.
We are delighted with this response and hope that this visit will take place.

“However, the date of the visit has yet to be decided but given the commitments
of the Holy Father for the remainder of the year, it would seem reasonable to
conclude at this stage that a visit in 2004, while not ruled out, is rather

Archbishop Brady continued, “The programme of places to be visited has yet
to be prepared and agreed. The visit of the Holy Father would once again
be a pastoral one. An appropriate and substantial programme of prayer,
preparation and reflection is essential to ensure that the people of Ireland
would gain maximum benefit from another papal visit.”

Archbishop Brady concluded, “The response that I and my fellow bishops and
priests have already received from the laity regarding a return visit clearly
demonstrate to us that the Irish people would warmly welcome the Bishop of
Rome once more into their midst. Now is the time to begin the preparation.
A programme to mark the 25th anniversary is scheduled for September with a
major celebration in Clonmacnois on September 19th. A special message from
the Holy Father has been requested for the occasion and is eagerly awaited.
The celebration will evoke many wonderful memories and inspire many to do
their utmost to ensure another memorable visit.”

Further information:
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)

Notes for Editors

* In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the visit of His Holiness
Pope John Paul II to Ireland, the Irish Bishops’ Conference has established
a subcommittee to manage various initiatives to commemorate and celebrate
this visit. The members of the subcommittee are:-
*The Most Reverend Dr Colm O’Reilly, Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnoise;
*The Most Reverend Dr Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath; and,
* The Most Reverend Dr John Magee, Bishop of Cloyne.

* The Irish Bishops’ Conference (IBC) is the collective term used to describe
the formal meetings held between all 33 Catholic bishops. The bishops meet
at least on a quarterly basis. Bishops are represented on the IBC from all
the 26 dioceses in Ireland (32 counties).