Initial Meetings Held for Ireland's Visitation

Participants Hopeful for Healing, Renewal of Church

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 6, 2010 ( The preparatory meetings for the apostolic visitation in Ireland just concluded in Rome.

A Vatican communiqué noted that on Tuesday, the prefect and secretary of the Congregation for Bishops and other Holy See representatives held a meeting with the apostolic visitors appointed by Benedict XVI.

These visitors include: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, retired archbishop of Westminster, who will conduct the visit to Armagh; Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston who will visit Dublin; Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto who will visit Cashel; and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa who will visit Tuam.

The communiqué noted that the meeting participants discussed particular aspects of this visitation, «mindful of the tragic abuse of children that has taken place in Ireland.»

It added, «Pastoral in nature, the visitation is intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal and is a sign of the Holy Father’s desire, as the Successor of Peter, to offer his pastoral solicitude to the Church in Ireland.»

The visitors «will give particular attention to victims of abuse and their families, but will also meet with and listen to a variety of people, including ecclesiastical authorities, lay faithful and those involved with the crucial work of safeguarding of children.»

Today, four prelates from Ireland joined the visitors and Holy See representatives to celebrate a Mass of the Holy Spirit. 

Cardinal Sean Brady, archbishop of Armagh; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin; Archbishop Dermot Clifford of Cashel and Emly; and Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam traveled to Rome for this occasion.

The Vatican communiqué noted that a meeting after the Mass was «marked by fraternal warmth and mutual collaboration,» and «summarized the discussions from the previous day.»

It added that «all participants are hopeful that this significant endeavor will be an instrument of purification and healing for the Church in Ireland and help to restore the trust and hope of the faithful there.»  

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