Pope Francis in Ireland: “I have a beautiful memory of Ireland because I spent three months here learning English”
Shortly after taking off for Dublin, the pope greeted journalists accompanying him on the papal plane one-by-one.
After, Pope Francis chose to say a few words. He reminded it will be his second time participating in the World Meeting of Families as pontiff, and also explained his excitement about returning to Ireland.
“I like to be with families. I'm happy to make this trip. There's another reason that touches my heart a bit. I'm returning to Ireland after 38 years. I was here nearly three months to practice English in 1980. For me, it's also a beautiful memory. Thanks for your work.”
Shortly before 10:30 a.m., local time, the papal plane landed at Dublin International Airport. On the ground, the Holy Father was welcomed by the country's civil authorities, headed by Vice Prime Minister Simon Coveney and his three daughters, who gave the pope a bouquet of flowers. Also present were the Irish bishops.
Later, Pope Francis went by car to the presidential residence. There, President Michael Higgins and his wife received the pope with full honors.
After, the Holy Father signed the book of honor, writing a message in English in which he expressed his gratitude for the country's warm welcome and assured his prayers for Ireland. The pope then took the customary photos with the leader and his wife before meeting in private for a few minutes.
To conclude, Pope Francis planted this tree in the presidential gardens and greeted a family of refugees.