News from the Vatican that Pope Francis has agreed to canonize Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII before the end of the year has prompted The Irish Times to republish several photos of JPII’s September 1979 visit to Ireland, including the image below at Clonmacnoise. CatholicIreland.net also posts a collection of quotations from JPII during the trip. This one covers the broad span of the Catholic church’s experience in Ireland:
I am thinking of how many times, across how many centuries, the Eucharist has been celebrated. How many and varied the places where the Masses have been offered, in stately mediaeval and in splendid modern cathedrals, in early monastic and in Modern Churches; at Mass rock in the glens and forests by hunted priests, in poor thatched-covered chapels, for a people poor in worldly goods but rich in the things of the Spirit., in “wake houses” or “station houses” or at great open-air hostings of the faithful – on top of Croagh Patrick and at Lough Derg.
What would Saint John Paul II have to say about the church’s problems in Ireland today, from child sexual abuse to declining Mass attendance? At least he might take some comfort in knowing that many Polish immigrants in Ireland are keeping the faith.