39 years ago Pope John Paul II was the first pope to visit Ireland .
Today Pope Francis is the second pope to visit Ireland .
What a difference 39 years can make .
39 years ago it was a great time for the Irish . There was something of irish pride in Pope John Paul II’s visit , akin to the national pride expressed in 1963 when President Kennedy visited Ireland .
Today , if any part of the Church were to epitomise the damage done to the Church by the scandals , scandals forcing the Church to face its gravest crisis since the Reformation , it is the Church in Ireland .
We feel hurt because of the scandals .
Putting ourselves in Pope Francis’ shoes , how must he feel ? What a burden he must shoulder , and day by day the burden gets no lighter .
May the Holy Father be granted all the wisdom and courage he needs this weekend and in all his days .
Do you remember this photograph , one of the first taken of Pope Francis as he bowed asking for the assembled people to pray for him ?
Let’s not let him down .