World Meeting of Families
The visit of Pope Francis to Dublin during the summer presented a rare opportunity to volunteer at the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park. There were plenty of tired faces as a small group of volunteers gathered in Gonzaga at 5am on the morning of the Mass. A quick taxi ride through the pouring rain brought us right to the Phoenix Park. From there, we sought shelter from the elements in the now legendary safe-haven known only as ‘Communion Chapel 15.’ It was immediately clear what a large event this was – there were thousands of volunteers spread all over the vast area, with huge crowds expected to turn out to catch a glimpse of the first Jesuit Pope. From Gonzaga there was Alex Kennedy, David O’Connell, Rory Collins, Max O’Neill, Eoin McMahon and myself volunteering.
The day rolled steadily on, with a few rehearsals and training sessions providing structure to the very long day. Pope Francis arrived with much excitement and thus began the main event. Il Papa proved elusive during his quick runabout on the PopeMobile, as we just missed out on getting up close to the man himself. Our job was to hold umbrellas during Communion – which despite the wind’s best efforts, ran very smoothly. Thanks must be given to Mr Corcoran, Mr Murray, and Mr Quinlan, who gave us the opportunity to take part in this special event, as well as providing much needed tea, donuts, and conversation throughout the day. A shoutout also to Ms Dunne and Dr Clark, who sang as part of the day’s impressive programme of music. Despite the poor weather, it was still a special opportunity and one which we will remember.
Conor Nolan S6C