Longford public have their say on Pope's visit

By Ellen Kenny & Ciara Farrell

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By Ellen Kenny & Ciara Farrell

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Pope Francis

The Longford public have been giving their views on Pope Francis' impending visit to Ireland this weekend.

With Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland approaching, the first Papal visit since 1979, the Longford Leader asked some Local churchgoers for their opinion on the upcoming World Meeting of Families.

Myra Smith of Newtownforbes, shared her excitement for the Pope’s arrival in Ireland. Myra, along with her husband, will be among the thousands of people in attendance at the 2018 Papal visit.

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Speaking of Pope Francis, as well as those he succeeded, namely Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, Myra says “They’re all wonderful. They’re heads of the church, representatives of our Lord. Why shouldn’t we be excited for his visit.”

Teresa Browne said, “I’m looking forward to it. I went on my own to meet the last pope and we were miles away from him. It was much bigger than this one, but I am looking forward to it. I’m meeting my son up there.”

Joyce O’Hara, a native of Ontario, Canada shared her devout admiration for Pope Francis. Joyce admits that she will not be making the journey to attend the Papal visit but says that the current head of the Church is “a truly great person who preaches love over hate and is a breath of fresh air in the Vatican” .

One churchgoer, who chose to remain unnamed, plans on going to Knock when the pope visits the famous church, “I’m feeling very pleased about it. I think it’ll be a renewal of the faith in this country.

They also reflected on the changes in the country and the Church since the last Papal visit in 1979.

“I believe that we’re a different country than we were back in 1979, a lot has changed, but I feel there’s an awful element in the media out against the Church.

“There’s a worldwide plan against the Church. Ireland has been targeted on account of its Christianity down through the years.

"I believe the media has a lot to do with the problems in this country.”

Eoin Moynihan from Granard is among the many that would like to attend the Pope’s visit.

However, due to physical reasons and a demanding journey, Eoin, like many of those in similar situations, is unable to attend the event. Despite this, Mr Moynihan looks very favourably on the Papal visit.

A large point of concern surrounding the Pope’s visit to Ireland is the millions of euros of taxpayers money that is estimated to go towards the event.

When asked his opinion on this matter, Moynihan says “I don’t have a problem with the cost. It represents something important.”

He continues, saying jokingly, “That kind of money has been spent on less important things. The Taoiseach can take a pay cut if it’s such a concern.”

Kathleen Martin from Howth also expressed her own disappointment about not being able to attend,

“I’ve done the first pope and it was incredible, but I’ll be eighty next June, so I know I wouldn’t be able. I thought the last time was very well organised, but I think they have made it very difficult for older people.”

Ms Martin spoke of serious grievances she hopes Pope Francis will address, “I’m glad he’s coming, and I hope he discusses the abuse [in the Catholic Church] even for two or three minutes. There’s a cardinal coming from another country, and he really shouldn’t come.

“I’m very sorry, because I love the Church. But it was swept under the counter for far too long, they’ve done terrible damage.”