Northern Ireland

Smear test campaigner leads offertory procession at Papal Mass

Terminally ill campaigner Emma Mhic Mhathuna
Terminally ill campaigner Emma Mhic Mhathuna

A high-profile victim of a major health controversy in the Republic was part of the offertory gifts proceedings during Pope Francis's Mass in Dublin on Sunday.

Emma Mhic Mhathuna, now terminally ill, was incorrectly told her smear test results were normal up until she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016.

Ms Mhic Mhathuna has been involved in a campaign for accountability regarding the cervical screening issue.

The mother of five was accompanied by her children, Natasha, Seamus, Mario, Oisin, and Donnacha - and friends, Mai Ui Bhruic and Tomas O Bruic.


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Joining Ms McMhathuna in the offertory procession was Olive Foley, widow of former Ireland rugby international and Munster head coach, Anthony "Axel" Foley, and their children, Dan and Tony.

Mrs Foley tearfully spoke at the World Meeting of Families earlier in the week about losing her husband aged just 42.

Also involved, were victims who had lost loved ones in the Omagh bombing.

There were 20,000 visitors from overseas at Pope Francis's Mass on Sunday
There were 20,000 visitors from overseas at Pope Francis's Mass on Sunday

Relatives of Mary Grimes, her pregnant daughter Avril Monaghan (30) and granddaughter Maura (1) were all killed when the bomb went off in Omagh in 1998.

Paul and Bridget Uzo, and their children Stephanie and Kelvin, who are representatives of the African Community in the Archdiocese of Dublin also left up gifts, alongside a family involved in the "All Are Welcome" Mass in Avila, in Donnybrook, Dublin.

The WMOF2018 Closing Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Phoenix Park on Sunday marked one of the biggest events in Europe this year.

Tens of thousands of people attended the Mass, including up to 20,000 overseas visitors.

A 12-hour programme of music, reflections, video and drama entertained pilgrims as they arrived and made their way home from the Phoenix Park.

The prelude featured national and international performers from Ireland, England, America, Germany, Austria, France, India and Canada.

The Mass itself heard Father Liam Lawton, liturgical composer and priest of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, joined by a 3,000 strong papal Mass choir.

During the mass, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for a number of issues including the abuse of single mothers, and the inaction of some in the church to tackle situations of abuse.

The mass concludes the Pontiff's two-day visit to Ireland.