Republic of Ireland news

Tickets for Pope's visit to Knock gone within hours

Pope Francis will visit the Republic in August
Áine Quinn

ALL tickets for the Pope's visit to Knock shrine in Co Mayo were snapped up within hours yesterday.

Free tickets to attend Papal events in Dublin and Co Mayo in August were released at 5am yesterday.

By around 9am all 45,000 tickets for the Marian shrine at Knock were gone.

Half a million tickets to attend Pope Francis's Mass at Phoenix Park were also made available and by 5pm yesterday, only 215,000 remained.

The Pope will visit the Republic on August 25 and 26 as part of the World Meeting of Families (WMOF), which the Catholic Church holds every three years.

It will be the first Papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years, when Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass with over one million people in Phoenix Park in September 1979.

During his tour, the Pope is also expected to visit Dublin Castle for a reception with Leo Varadkar and the Capuchin Day Centre to meet the homeless.

However, like Pope John Paul II, he will not make the journey across the border.

Fr Timothy Bartlett, secretary general of WMOF2018, said he was hugely encouraged by the response to all of the events - those with Pope Francis and those that will take place before he arrives in Ireland.

He said: “It is clear that what Pope Francis is saying about family, faith and society is connecting with a wide range of people.

"We are working hard to make the WMOF2018 a joyful, welcoming and comfortable event for all those who wish to attend.

“While I know that many people will be disappointed that they have not managed to get tickets for Knock Shrine or for the RDS Pastoral Congress, I would encourage them to come to the Mass in Phoenix Park for a joyful celebration of faith and the good news of family in our lives.

"It will also be a memorable and historic occasion.”

The Pastoral Congress, which takes place in Croke Park, from August 22 to 24, is booked out with over 82,000 people likely to be in attendance.

Registrations to the event, which have been available since last June, indicate that people from 114 countries will be attending.

Pope Francis is due to arrive in Knock shortly before 10am on August 26.

He will spend almost an hour there, during which he will pray privately, recite the Angelus and tour the grounds in a Popemobile.

Last week security measures were put in place to ensure that tickets for the visits are not sold on by touts.

Tickets for the Papal mass in Phoenix Park are still available to book at www.worldmeeting2018.ie.

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