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'Young people are the future': Pope issues message to Irish people ahead of visit

He also said he was “excited to return” to Ireland, having lived in Dublin previously.

Image: Youtube/World Meeting of Families 2018

POPE FRANCIS I says he hopes to foster “unity and reconciliation” ahead of his visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.

In a video message ahead of the 36-hour stay later this week, the Pope also echoed a message during the last papal visit by Pope John Paul II by appealing to Ireland’s youth.

He said: “Young people are the future. It is very important to prepare them for the future, preparing them today, in the present, but also rooted in the past: young people and grandparents.”

The Pope expressed excitement at “the thought of returning to Ireland”, having previously lived in Dublin to study English at the Jesuit Center at the Milltown Institute.

And he also said he would like to include “all the members of the Irish family” in his visit, not just those attending the World Meeting of Families.

“In a particular way, I pray that it may further the growth of unity and reconciliation among all Christ’s followers, as a sign of that lasting peace which is God’s dream for our whole human family,” he said.

The Pope thanked those working to prepare for his visit, and called the World Meeting “a celebration of the beauty of God’s plan for the family”.

The message comes on the same day that it was announced that the Pope will meet survivors of clerical sex abuse during his visit.

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Details of the meeting will not be announced until after it has taken place, but its confirmation follows uncertainty in recent months over whether such a meeting would take place.

The Pope will touch down in Dublin on Saturday, and will say public masses in the Phoenix Park in Dublin and Knock, Co May, before leaving again on Sunday evening.

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