Caption: Papal pilgrim, Maureen Farren and Fr Bradley PP, Buncrana
The Papal Mass in Phoenix Park will live long in the memory of the more than 320 parishioners from Buncrana who made the 260km journey up to the capital for the event.
According to Buncrana Councillor Rena Donaghey, six buses left the Shore Front in the town at 6.00am on Sunday morning bound for Dublin, not to mention those who travelled in cars.
Speaking to the Inish Times, Cllr Donaghey paid tribute to one special pilgrim from Buncrana, Maureen Farren (98), who travelled to the Papal Mass on one of the buses.
Cllr Donaghey said: “I have to say, I was full of admiration for Maureen, who will be 99 years old in a fortnight’s time, and her phenomenal energy.
“When our buses got to Dublin, we parked in the Docks area and walked to the shuttle bus, which dropped us a fair wee bit away from Phoenix Park. Well Maureen walked every step of the way, unassisted, to attend the Papal Mass. I’d say we walked 10km there and back and there wasn’t a bother on Maureen.
“It was an extremely wet morning. The rain was torrential but we walked on undeterred. Thankfully the weather took up as the day went on. The craic was fantastic. The organisation on the day also has to be commended. Everything was ready for us when we arrived.
“It was a great day. It was a great experience to be part of such an occasion. There were hundreds of thousands people making their ways to Phoenix Park, young people and older people. I think the faith is alive and well in Ireland.
“I found it very moving to see Pope Francis. We were very lucky to be very close to the Papal Cross and Altar,” said Cllr Donaghey.
Cllr Donaghey said she was glad that Pope Francis made his apology during the Papal Mass.
She said: “It was only right that Pope Francis should have acknowledged the wrong that was done to women and children. No one could stand up for the wrong that was done in the past.
“The Church has put child protection policies in place and I would call on anyone who knows of any sex abuse to contact the Garda or the police immediately.”
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