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Street party to celebrate the World Meeting of Families and Pope’s visit

World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland.

Street party to celebrate the World Meeting of Families and Pope’s visit

A generous mix of fun and spirituality will merge in the heart of Limerick on Tuesday next as the city and county begin official preparations for the much-awaited World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland.

After months of preparation, the party finally begins at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at John’s Square with exactly that – a ‘Street Party’.




According to organisers, those who got to enjoy last October’s ‘Family Fun Day’ to launch the 10-month-long programme in the run-up to the World Meeting of Families will have an idea of the fun that’s ahead on Tuesday for all ages.

And in a city and county that will hopefully be still in buoyant mood after this coming Sunday’s Croke Park exploits, the event is expected to keep the party atmosphere rolling in Limerick. 

The event will be formally launched by Sr. Helen Culhane, founder of the Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick, and her recently appointed ambassador Olive Foley, wife of the late Munster and Ireland rugby legend Anthony Foley.  It will happen simultaneously with other such celebrations scheduled for the same afternoon in dioceses across the country as Ireland celebrates as one the impending arrival of Pope Francis and the great World Meeting of Families gathering.

St. John’s Square will be pedestrianised for the event, which will have food-stalls, face-painting, music and magic shows.

The feast of fun in the square will be followed by an ecumenical evening prayer service across in St. John’s Cathedral, with Bishop Brendan Leahy, his Church of Ireland equivalent from the Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe Kenneth Kearon and members of other churches leading the psalms and readings.  There will also be organ playing by Bernadette Kiely, a cantor and a performance of ‘Joy to the World’ – the anthem for the World Meeting of Families – by a mass choir.

Said Limerick Diocesan World Meeting of Families delegate Emer Williams:  “It’s almost hard to believe that, after all the preparations, and all the excitement, we’re finally upon it. It’s ten months since we gathered in Mary I for the Family Fun Day, which was a magnificent success, with over 3,000 attending.  At that stage, we were hoping and praying we would not alone be looking forward to the World Meeting of Families but also Pope Francis’ arrival.  Here we are, just around the corner from both.”

She continued:  “It’s going to be a time we are never going to forget in Limerick, a double pilgrimage as it were to Croke Park.  Tens of thousands will head there this weekend for the All-Ireland Final and I can only imagine what the atmosphere is going to be like next week here.  Win or lose, there’ll be a carnival atmosphere in Limerick.

“We’ll keep that going on Tuesday with our Street Party.  There’s a fantastic fun afternoon planned for John’s Square.  It’s all geared towards the family and all, of course, free.  Then we move across the St. John’s Cathedral where there will still be a celebratory tone, a spiritual celebration.

“Then we head back to Dublin for events at the RDS, Croke Park and the Phoenix Park.  It’s going to be such a special, special time and I have no doubt that we will all be, and the Church will be, very much enriched at the end of it all.”

Limerick will have a strong a strong presence at the World Meeting of Families events throughout the week and into the weekend.  Limerick Diocese is one of only a handful of dioceses that will have a display stand in the RDS International exhibition as it showcases its pastoral activity.

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy is one of the Irish Bishops who will moderate a session at the three-day RDS event.  Bishop Leahy will chair the ‘Handing on the Faith in the Home Today’ workshop on Wednesday, while former diocesan employee and Caherdavin native Noirín Lynch will chair a panel on Wednesday also, on Christian Families from Troubled Parts of our World.

Larry de Cléir from the Bedford Row Family Project will be on a panel discussing on the Impact of Conflict on Families and Children, as will Christine Hoctor, chaplain in Limerick Prison,while Dr. Jesse Rodgers, one of the moderators of the Limerick Diocesan Synod and from the Faculty of Theology in Maynooth, is a participant in a number of workshops. Olive Foley will speak on a panel, which will also include rugby legend Ronan O’Gara, on ‘Celebrating Family and Sport’.

Some 17 young people from across the diocese are volunteers for the World Meeting of Families Event while a number of choirs from the diocese will be among those singing at the Papal Mass.


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For more information about the World Meeting of Families, go here.



Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.