Diocese of Meath welcomes Pope Francis to Ireland

Monday 20 August

Pilgrim families arrive in the homes of host families in Navan and Kentstown on Monday from the diocese of Leira-Fátima. Families arriving around the same time from Valencia are being hosted by families in Ashbourne and in Dunshaughlin parishes.

Final rehearsal in Dalgan Park from 7:30pm – 9:00pm for the Meath diocesan singers – led by Jim Walsh (Laytown parishioner who conducted the music at Killineer in 1979).

Tuesday 21 August

Ahead of his participation at the World Meeting of Families, Cardinal Peter Turkson visits the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar. The Cardinal, who serves as Prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, will act as moderator at a presentation in the RDS entitled “The Vocation of the Business Leader: A Family Business Perspective”.

Mass for parishioners, visitors from Fatima, Poland and Armenia at 10:00 in St Mary’s Parish, Navan will be followed by a tour of the Boyne Valley (Monasterboice, Slane, Tara).

The Cathedral in Mullingar marks the opening of the World Meeting of Families with Mass at 7pm celebrated by Bishop Michael Smith. Representatives from all the parishes in the Mullingar, Tullamore and Castlepollard deaneries have been invited and will take part in the ceremony.

Mullingar parish is hosting pilgrims from the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Their Bishop and lay people will join local members of Teams of Our Lady for supper in the Parish Community Centre prior to the Mass.

Parishioners in Drogheda will assemble at Holy Family Church at 7.00pm. Holy Family Youth Group will perform their drama  “A Little bit of Francis” in Holy Family Church in Ballsgrove. At 7.45pm a procession will take place to St Mary’s Church.  The music for Evening Prayer will be provided by local choirs including those from Holy Family and Laytown/Mornington parishes.

The Opening of the World Meeting of Families will be celebrated in St Mary’s Church with a prayerful gathering from 7:30pm – 8:20pm. All families from Navan are invited to join with friends and neighbours from other parishes in Navan deanery. Refreshments will be served afterwards in the Community Centre.

Wednesday 22 August

Departure for the Congress of Families in the RDS. This day is assigned to dioceses in the provinces of Armagh and Dublin . Numerous coaches will be travelling on Wednesday from all parts of the Diocese of Meath.

The Meath diocesan singers will attend rehearsals in Donnybrook Church from 10:30 while all other diocesan participants join in the Congress events and workshops. Pilgrims from the Diocese of Meath will be able to recognise each other by means of their button badge with the diocesan coat of arms.

Thursday 23 August

Presentations at the WMOF Congress will include input today from Gerry O’Flaherty (Navan parish) in the Main Arena of the RDS and a video presentation by the Choristers from Mullingar Cathedral in the Children’s Global Village.

The Cathedral Choristers, together with the Lynn Singers from Mullingar, will provide the afternoon musical interlude in the Main Arena of the RDS.

On Thursday evening, the Holy Family Youth Group from Ballsgrove, Drogheda will perform their drama “A Little Bit of Francis” – a contemporary “take” on Pope Francis using song and dance.

Through the week, young families are invited to join with the Kisi Kids from Austria (a previous generation of whom were hosted in Navan during 2012 International Eucharistic Congress). They will be providing musical and reflective dramas in the Children’s Global Village during the RDS programme. Every morning and afternoon they will explore the themes of “Please, Thank you and I’m Sorry” with singing, dancing and acting.

On Thursday evening a parish social gathering will be held in St Mary’s Parish in order to welcome the Portuguese and other nationalities who will be attending the World Meeting of Families. All are invited to attend in their National Costume.

Friday 24 August

RDS Congress events continue with the participation of many volunteers from around the Diocese of Meath in all venues.

Saturday 25 August

A number of recently married couples and those preparing for marriage in the Diocese of Meath will be attending a ceremony with Pope Francis in the Pro Cathedral, Dublin.

Evening gathering in Croke Park from 4:30pm with the families of the world. An allocation of 10 tickets has been received for each parish.

Sunday 26 August

Mass in the Phoenix Park celebrated by Pope Francis with the participation of 250 singers from around the Diocese of Meath.

The hymn “A Joy for all the Earth” which was composed by Ephrem Feeley (Ashbourne Parish & St Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School Navan) is the opening hymn for the Mass.

The choir is conducted by Dr John O’Keeffe (past pupil of St Finian’s Schola Cantorum, Mullingar) and the Meath diocesan group of singers comprising choirs from Dunboyne, Ashbourne, Navan, Kentstown, Dunsany, the Diocesan Choir will form part of the 3,000 voice choir for the Sunday Mass).