Pope Francis


    The Mayo League has confirmed that it has decided to leave Sunday August 26th free from all football activities, due to the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland.

    In a statement a spokesperson said as the Pope is scheduled to visit Knock and Dublin on Sunday August 26th to give people the opportunity to attend the events.

    All matches scheduled for that weekend will be fixed for Saturday August 25th.

  • A Mayo Senator says she wants every effort made to bring Pope Francis to Mayo when he visits Ireland in August.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says she would like to see the Pope’s visit extend beyond Dublin and would love to see him at Knock Shrine, especially as it is nearly 40 years since the historic visit of Pope John Paul II.

    Senator Mulherin says it would be a boost for people in the west to see the Pontiff visit Mayo.

    She told Midwest News that she has called on the relevant authorities to do everything in their power to make the visit happen.

  • The Children's Minister says she doesn't believe this weekend was the first time the Pope has heard about the Tuam Babies.

    Katherine Zappone has written Pope Francis a memo outlining the details of the case following her meeting with the Pontiff this weekend.

    Last night, Pope Francis told reporters that he would study the memo, as it touched his heart.

    Ms Zappone said she told the pontiff that she hopes the Catholic Church will make reparation to the women and babies who lived in the Co Galway home, where the remains of 796 infants were buried in a septic tank.

    Minister Zappone says it was clear the Pope knew what she was talking about when she mentioned Tuam:

  • The Children's Minister Katherine Zappone has written to the Pope, asking that the Catholic Church take responsibility for the role it played in Mother and Baby Homes.

    In a memo to Pope Francis after meeting him at thes weekend, Minister Zappone outlined the details of the Tuam Baby case and asked that the Catholic Church contribute to the cost of either excavating the bodies at the site or to create a memorial.

    In her letter to the Pope, she outlines that the Commission of Investigation confirmed the presence of human remains on the site of the former Mother & Baby Home in Tuam, which was run by the Bon Secours Sisters from 1925-1961.

    The former home was demolished in the 1970's to make way for a local authority housing estate, while a small memorial garden in maintained by local residents.

    The Minister explains to the Pope that the Commission of Investigation believes there are a significant number of childrens' remains buried in a sewage system at the site, and says she has instructed an expert team to do further work at this site to determine the options on offer - which include a full excavation of the site and DNA analysis of the remains buried there.

    The Minister's letter says it is her strong conviction that, given the role of the Church in this shameful chapter of recent Irish history, it must play a practical role in addressing the hurt and damage.

    She says the Church should contribute substantially to the cost of whatever option is decided by the Government, and this should be done willingly, unconditionally and quickly.

    The Pope last night confirmed that he received Minister Zappone's memo, and says he will study it.

  • No additional tickets will be made available for the visit of Pope Francis to Knock later this month.

    That was the clear message today from organisers of the event, who met with local media at a press conference at Knock House Hotel.

    Pope Francis will travel to Knock Shrine for a brief visit on Sunday 26th August, before returning to Dublin to celebrate Mass in the Phoenix Park.

    45,000 tickets have been allocated for the event at Knock Shrine, but despite demand for additional tickets, no more will be issued according to Brenda Drumm, Communications Manager with the World Meeting of Families.

  • No member of the Tuam Home Survivors Network was extended an invitation to attend a civil reception in Dublin this Saturday afternoon for the Visit of Pope Francis, despite a request by historian Catherine Corless  to allow a member of the Network take her place on the guest list.

    Catherine Corless, whose work uncovered details of the deaths of close to 800 babies at the former Tuam Mothers and Baby home, confirmed today that she declined an invitation from the Taoiseach's Office to attend the civil reception in Dublin Castle.

    She told Midwest News that she had asked that a member of the Survivors Network take her place, but said that request was refused and added it would have meant a lot to those affected.

    Catherine explained that she had refused the Taoiseach’s invitation as she believes her place is at the planned protest in Tuam on Sunday at 3pm at the site where it is suspected that 796 babies are buried.

    She also wrote to the Vatican asking for Pope Francis to meet one of the survivors of the home but that request has not yielded any result.

  • No one without a ticket will get within two kilometres of the village of Knock on Sunday August 26th when Pope Francis visits the Shrine. That’s the clear message from Garda Superintendent Tom Calvey of Claremorris garda station.

    Speaking to Midwest News he said the public with tickets for the occasion are being encouraged, where possible, to take public transport to the shrine.

    Supt Calvey said generally people who access Knock by public transport will have a lot less walking to do than those who arrive in private cars on Sunday August 26th.

    Irish Rail is expected to increase services to Claremorris on the day and bus transfers will be in place to transport pilgrims to Knock from the station.

    Parish groups are being urged to travel by private mini bus or coach.

    Talks are underway at present between Mayo county council and farmers in the area to establish additional carparking facilities in fields.

    Supt Calvey explains that if ticket holders all travelled by car to Knock, it would require parking for in excess of 20,000 cars. He said 9,600 would take up 28km of hard shoulder to park. Therefore he said the message is, where possible, please use public transport.

     He said there is already an increased garda operation at both the village of Knock and Ireland West Airport Knock, where Pope Francis will arrive on the Sunday morning.

    He said that garda operation will be significantly increased closer to the visit.

    The N17 is expected to be closed to traffic for up to 24 hours around the visit.

    Pope Francis is due to arrive at Ireland West Airport Knock at 9.20am and be in the Church at Knock Shrine about twenty five minutes later . He will leave knock Shrine at 10.45am and will be back at the airport for an 11.10am flight to Dublin and onto the Mass for the World Meeting of Families that will be celebrated in the Phoenix Park in the afternoon.

  • Pope Francis has confirmed he will visit Ireland in August.

    The Pope will attend the World Meeting of Families which takes place from 21-26 August at Croke Park in Dublin.

    The 81-year old pontiff will arrive in Dublin on Saturday 25th August and will celebrate Mass in the Phoenix Park on Sunday 26th August, bringing the World Meeting of Families to a close.

    The Catholic Communications Office says full details of the papal schedule will be released at a later date.

    However, there is no indication at this point that Pope Francis may include a visit to Knock Shrine on his itinerary.



    Pope Francis has landed in Ireland.

    The pontiff arrived at Dublin Airport shortly after 10.30 this morning.


    The Pope's plane 'Shepard One' appeared in the Sky over Dublin around a half an hour ago.

    He was greeted by Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and his family.

    Mr Coveney's children welcomed the pontiff to the country saying 'welcome to Ireland' in Irish, English and Spanish.

    The tricolour and the vatican flag flew in front of the plane as it pulled up and the Pope greeted senior church officials.

    His next stop is a meeting with President Michael D Higgins in Phoenix Park where he'll celebrate mass tomorrow.

    A family of Syrian asylum seekers will attend the tree planting ceremony in Áras an U

  • Pope Francis will pay a brief visit to the Marian Shrine at Knock as part of his visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families in August, according to a front page story in today’s Irish Times.

    Pope Francis  will fly by plane from Dublin to Knock airport on Sunday August 26th and, it is planned, travel by motorcade the 20-kilometre route along the N17 to Knock shrine.

    There, according to details of his itinerary obtained by The Irish Times, he will say the rosary followed by Angelus at noon in the Apparition Chapel. It is unclear whether he will visit the Basilica.

    Afterwards he will fly back to Dublin for a 3pm Mass in the Phoenix Parkwhere crowds will be limited to 600,000 by Garda and city authorities for health and safety reasons.

    Organisers believe this will be the largest-ever ticketed event in the world. Entry is free.

    Pope Francis will fly back to Rome at about 7pm that Sunday evening, after spending about 36 hours in Ireland on Saturday August 25th and Sunday August 26th. Plans have yet to be agreed on whether he will travel through Dublin  city, possibly in the popemobile.

    On the Saturday, he will visit President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at Áras an Uachtaráin, with a civic reception at Dublin Castle hosted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the afternoon.

    Later that afternoon he will visit Br Kevin Crowley and the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People on Dublin’s Bow Street. He is likely to visit a prison – yet to be finalised – and will meet clerical abuse survivors privately.

    As of now there are no plans for him to visit Northern Ireland.

    The planned visit to Knock is believed to be at Pope Francis’s instigation. He has a particular devotion to Mary and earlier this year instituted a new feast in her honour as Mother of the Church. It is to be celebrated on the first Monday after Pentecost every year, May 21st this year.


    The Pope says he has prayed this morning for victims of clerical abuse.

    He asked for forgiveness for the scandal and betrayal felt by many.

    In a number of unscripted remarks in his speech in Knock he says he was moved by the stories of young people and children who were robbed of their innocence and left scarred by the actions the church.

    Pope Francis met last night with a number of victims of abuse in Dublin and spoke to them for almost an hour and a half.

    He said the church must be decisive in how it deals with abuse.



  • Pope Francis said last night he would “study” a memo given to him by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone about the Tuam mother-and-baby home. That’s according to today’s Irish Times.

    “It touched my heart, that is why I wanted to repeat it during my speech [at Dublin Castle],” he told journalists on the plane back to Rome following a 32-hour visit to Ireland. On Saturday the Minister told him of the case involving more than 700 babies buried in a septic tank in Tuam.

    Pope Francis said the proposal to ask for forgiveness during the Mass at Dublin’s Phoenix Park came from meeting survivors. They had expressed shock he knew nothing of Magdalene laundries and mother-and-baby homes.

    The pope told reporters last night: “I had never heard of these mothers, they call it the laundromat of women where an unwed woman is pregnant and goes into these hospitals, I don’t know what they call them, schools, run by the nuns and then they gave children to the people in adoption.”

    “It was for me painful [to hear] but with the awareness that I have could help clear these things up.”

    He was speaking at the end of his visit to Ireland during which he publicly raised the issue of abuse on four occasions.

    Francis found “much faith in Ireland. Irish people suffered for scandals, but there is faith. People can distinguish from truth and half truths. It is in process of healing... but Irish people have faith, lots of faith,” he said last night.

    Some 500,000 people were expected at the Phoenix Park Mass but the crowd appeared far smaller and is being estimated this morning as under 200,000. Medical director of the site field hospital Dr Patrick Plunkett said he believed 130,000 people attended.

     Asked about LGBT issues, the pope said: “What do I say to a father if the son or daughter has this tendency. Pray, don’t condemn. Understand, make space to let them express themselves,” he said. “ Silence is not a remedy.”

    Francis also met Ireland’s Catholic bishops yesterday and told them they must address clerical child sex abuse with honesty and courage.

    Last night he confirmed he had read the communiqué in which a retired Vatican diplomat called on him to resign, claiming he was aware of abuse allegations against a prominent church figure from 2013 but failed to act. “I believe the communiqué speaks for itself,” the pope said.

  • It is expected that Rome will confirm later today details of Pope Francis visit to Knock this August.

    Confirmation is expected at 11 o’clock this morning in a simultaneous press launch in both the Vatican and Maynooth.

    Midwest Radio expect to have full details of the Pope’s itinerary of the expected visit on Sunday August 26th.

  • The schedule for the Pope's visit to Ireland is due to be confirmed in the coming days.

    Pope Francis will be in Dublin on August 25th and 26th, as part of the World Meeting of Families.

    It's expected he will attend the Festival of Families at Croke Park - and the Closing Mass in the Phoenix Park which will involve hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from Ireland and around the world.

    There is also strong speculation that he will pay a brief visit to Knock.

  • Half a million tickets for the Papal Mass in the Phoenix  Park, similar to the 45,000 tickets for the Pope’s visit to Knock,  are now all booked out

    People from 116 countries are represented in the bookings for the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

    Organisers of the World Meeting of Families last night revealed all 500,000 tickets are booked out for the Mass in August.

    Pope Francis will be the principal celebrant at the service, on what will be the closing mass of WMOF2018.

  • There is said to be strong interest from stamp collectors and others in two stamps issued to mark the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland next month for the World Meeting of Families gathering.

    According to today’s Irish Times, more than 450,000 €1 stamps showing the Pope, and 103,000 €1.50 international stamps, showing a family walking along a beach, will be issued, according to Angus Laverty of An Post.

    First-day covers costing €3.50 will be available on envelopes with special franking marks, and in souvenir packs at main post offices and online.

    More than 350,000 stamps issued to mark Ireland’s hosting of the Eucharistic Congress in 2012 were sold.

    In a tweet, the Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin urged his flock to mark the World Meeting of Families: “Why not post a card and prayer to faraway family members with the new stamps?”

    The ninth World Meeting of Families pastoral congress in Dublin takes place at the RDS from August 22nd to 24th. A Festival of Families is at Croke Park on August 25th.

    All 500,000 tickets for the Mass, as well as the 45,000 tickets for Knock, and the 75,000 tickets  for Croke Park are booked out, as are 37,000 tickets for the pastoral congress in the RDS.

  • An ‘on the spot’ survey conducted by the Association of Catholic Priests in the run-up to the visit of Pope Francis, has revealed huge support for a radical reform of the Irish Catholic Church.

    The survey was conducted at four regional meetings held in July, on the ACP website in early August, in parishes and with a number of groups from different parts of Ireland representing priests and people with age-levels from teenagers to elderly.

    Participants were asked an open-ended question – What do you want to say to Pope Francis about the Irish Church?  - And could give single or multiple responses.

    In all, 1,396 participants contributed 2,288 submissions.

    2088 submissions or 78% of respondents, proposed a series of reforms under a number of headings, listed in order of priority.

    In first place was an equal role for women in the Church, in second priesthood and vocations, third – reforms in Church governance and worship, fourth – dealing with abuse and its fall-out, fifth – LGBT issues, sixth – young people, seventh –bishops and leadership.

  • With the visit of Pope Francis imminent, Tommy Marren talked to two of the main men involved in the event - Fr Richard Gibbons, Parish Priest of Knock, and Supt. Tom Calvey from Claremorris Garda Station, dropped into studio to give an outline of everything that is happening this weekend as the Pontiff visits Mayo and answer listeners questions about the event. Listen back now.

  • The Government Press Office has released information in relation to transport options to both Knock and the Phoenix Park in for the Pope's visit August.

    This is in advance of the ticket registration for Knock and the Phoenix Park going live on Monday next.

    The Government has urged anyone interested in attending either Knock Shrine or the Mass in the Phoenix Park to get a ticket, plan transport and prepare for a long day.

    You need a ticket for the event at the Phoenix Park and you can register for tickets online on the World Meeting of Families 2018 website from Monday. You will receive your ticket closer to the event. You must choose which event you would like to attend – Phoenix Park or Knock, you will not be able to get tickets for both.

    Comprehensive transport information has been published on gov.ie/popeinireland


  • Tickets for the Pope's visit to Knock Shrine were all taken up within minutes of going online this morning.
    There are still tickets available for the Mass in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.
    Fr Richard Gibbons, the PP of Knock Shrine told Midwest Radio that anyone could secure up to eight tickets for Knock if they managed to get online this morning.
    In total there were 45,000 tickets available for the Pope's visit to Knock.
    The Pope will be in Knock on Sunday August 26th.