Comment from Monsignor Joseph McGuinness on the publication today of the itinerary for the Papal visit to Ireland and the Programme for the World Meeting of Families 2018

11 Jun 2018

We are looking forward with great anticipation to the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families in August, and we will be participating with joy and enthusiasm in this great international event. As a cross-border Diocese, it was a heartfelt wish for us that the Pope could have visited the North of Ireland, and this request was made very earnestly by the leaders of all the Northern dioceses, as well as the leaders of the main Christian Churches. We understand that, given the brief duration of the visit and its focus of the celebration of the World Meeting of Families, a visit to the North will not be included in the Pope’s itinerary. Many of us are understandably disappointed, but we have to bear in mind also that Pope Francis is not a young man and this places limits on the amount he can do in one short trip. We are encouraged that the possibility of a future visit to the North is under consideration. Such a visit would be a source of encouragement and support for all the people of the North who have endured so much and worked so hard for peace and reconciliation. 

We welcome the publication today of a very wide-ranging programme for the World Meeting of Families Pastoral Congress. The programme reflects family life in our world today and the challenges and opportunities this presents to the church and to the world. The fact that almost thirty-thousand people have now registered for the World Meeting of Families in Ireland is very significant. This gathering is now set to become the largest World Meeting of Families to date.


Notes for Editors:

  • The World Meeting of Families takes place in Dublin from 21 to 26 August 2018. Pope Francis will attend the Festival of Families in Croke Park on Saturday 25 August and will preside at the Closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families, to be held in the Phoenix Park on the afternoon of Sunday, 26 August. The itinerary for the papal visit is available on
  • For information on the World Meeting of Families and its Pastoral Congress, visit
  • The World Meeting of Families will open in each parish or pastoral area of the diocese with the celebration of Evening Prayer of the Church on Tuesday 21 August 2018.
  • The Roman Catholic Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Fermanagh and portions of Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. It has a Catholic population of 88,000, across 37 parishes, which are served by 63 priests and 1 deacon. There are 85 churches in the diocese. Monsignor Joseph McGuinness is the Diocesan Administrator of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clogher, pending the appointment of a new bishop by Pope Francis. He is also the Administrator of the Parish of Tyholland, Co Monaghan.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Katie Crosby 00353 (0) 86 862 3298