Pope Francis could visit Knock Shrine during time in Ireland
Pope Francis may include a visit to Knock Shrine during his time in Ireland this summer.
The head of the Catholic Church will be in Ireland for a few days in August, to coincide with the World Meeting of Families.
However, the exact schedule for his trip has not been announced and speculation is rife about when and where the Pope will visit.
Knock Shrine in Co Mayo was the scene at which a group of local people reportedly saw an apparition on the Virgin Mary in 1879.
It has since been a popular pilgrimage site for tourists and members of the Catholic Church each year.
The visit of Pope Francis will be the first papal visit to Ireland since Pope John Paul II came here in 1979.
During that trip, he celebrated mass at Knock Shrine and described it as the “goal of my journey to Ireland”.
It was estimated that around 450,000 people attended the mass that day.
Similarly, the visit of Pope Francis is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people.
He is scheduled to take part in a ceremony at Croke Park on August 25th, and then say mass at Phoenix Park the following day.
There could be as many as 650,000 people wishing to attend the Phoenix Park ceremony and there are concerns over safety with regards to getting them all to and from the Mass.
One possible option is for Pope Francis to also say Mass while at Knock Shrine, which could help ease the number of people at one single event.
If that is the case then it is possible that Pope Francis could fly into Co Mayo directly as opposed to Dublin.
That would be an historic event in itself. The airport was opened in 1985 after much work from Monsignor James Horan. It has three chartered flights to Rome and has welcomed more than 10 million passengers through its doors.