Pope sends ‘warm greeting to the beloved people of Northern Ireland’

Pope sends ‘warm greeting to the beloved people of Northern Ireland’

Pope Francis says the people of Northern Ireland are in his thoughts and prayers.

The Pontiff made the comment during a visit to the Knock Shrine in Co Mayo.

Catholics in Northern Ireland were left disappointed earlier this year when the details of the Pope’s visit revealed he was not going to travel north.

However, Francis made clear today his affection for the people of Northern Ireland.

“My pilgrimage to Knock also allows me to address a warm greeting to the beloved people of Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Although my journey for the World Meeting of Families does not include a visit to the north, I assure you of my affection and closeness in prayer.

“I ask Our Lady to sustain all the members of the Irish family to persevere, as brothers and sisters, in the work of reconciliation.

“With gratitude for the advance of ecumenism and the significant growth of friendship and co-operation between the Christian communities, I pray that all of Christ’s followers will support the continuing efforts to advance the peace process and to build a harmonious and just society for today’s children.”

Scores of people from Northern Ireland travelled to Dublin and Knock across the weekend to see Francis.

These included SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Ulster Unionist MLA Robbie Butler and Presbyterian Moderator Dr Charles McMullan.

Pope Francis arrives to deliver a speech in St Patrick’s Hall at Dublin Castle (WMOF18/Maxwell Photography/PA)
Pope Francis arrives to deliver a speech in St Patrick’s Hall at Dublin Castle (WMOF18/Maxwell Photography/PA)

Yesterday, Francis spoke of his hope that every remaining obstacle to Northern Ireland’s peace process will be overcome.

He was speaking to an audience at Dublin Castle, which included Secretary of State Karen Bradley and Good Friday Agreement peace deal architect George Mitchell.

Northern Ireland’s powersharing administration at Stormont has been suspended for months in a row over identity issues like the Irish language, 20 years after a landmark accord largely ended violence.

The Pontiff said the Irish Government, alongside leaders in Northern Ireland and Britain, had created a “dynamic” context for the peaceful settlement through the Agreement of a conflict which had caused “untold pain” on both sides.

He added: “We can give thanks for the two decades of peace that followed this historic agreement, while expressing firm hope that the peace process will overcome every remaining obstacle and help give birth to a future of harmony, reconciliation and mutual trust.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Museum waxes lyrical about effect of pope’s visit to IrelandMuseum waxes lyrical about effect of pope’s visit to Ireland

Pope blamed for drop in Dublin Zoo visitor numbersPope blamed for drop in Dublin Zoo visitor numbers

Pope Francis blamed for fall in visitors to Dublin ZooPope Francis blamed for fall in visitors to Dublin Zoo

PAC to review spend on luxury toilets for papal visitPAC to review spend on luxury toilets for papal visit


More in this Section

Pedestrian, 70, being treated for life-threatening injuries after collision with carPedestrian, 70, being treated for life-threatening injuries after collision with car

All women and families impacted by CervicalCheck scandal to get Dáil apologyAll women and families impacted by CervicalCheck scandal to get Dáil apology

Killarney deer struggling to walk suffering from suspected 'staggers' conditionKillarney deer struggling to walk suffering from suspected 'staggers' condition

National Bravery Awards: 'The award for me is that he is alive today'National Bravery Awards: 'The award for me is that he is alive today'


Lifestyle

It never ceases to stop me in my tracks when I hear my husband intone to our children one of the oft overused phrases from my stockpile of, “Can you just not?” categories.Lindsay Woods: If my children feel I’m doing it wrong then I must be doing it right

In honour of our Made in Munster special edition, Joe McNamee creates a four-course meal showcasing the best produce from the province. And there’s a lot to celebrate.The Menu's Made in Munster six course dinner - One from each county

More From The Irish Examiner