Papal campaign: Official Limerick mayoral invitation extended to Pope Francis

Maria Flannery


Maria Flannery

Emily Clarke with her CD, Papa Francis, and a letter she received from the Vatican

Emily Clarke with her CD, Papa Francis, and a letter she received from the Vatican

AN OFFICIAL letter of invitation has been extended to Pope Francis through the Limerick mayor’s office, on foot of a papal visit campaign by one local woman.

Emily Clarke, Crecora, invited Pope Francis to Limerick in a letter several years ago, and she stepped up her campaign 12 months ago when she received a response, and after it had become clear that the pontiff would journey to Ireland in 2018.

The singer wrote a song called Papa Francis, the CD of which she also sent to the Vatican and which was received by the Pope.

“I am over the moon that an invitation has now been issued and I’m thrilled and privileged to be leading this campaign to get Pope Francis to visit Limerick. The support I’ve received from everyone all over has been phenomenal,” said Ms Clarke.

A motion to invite the pope was passed unanimously by the full council earlier this year, after Emily made waves with her campaign.

Among the well-known locals who have gotten behind her are JP McManus, Celia Holman Lee, Jon Kenny and politicians Niall Collins, Tom Neville and Maria Byrne.

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has also voiced his support of a papal visit.

The momentum to bring the Argentinian pope to Limerick is building, following a Limerick priest’s encounter with him in Rome a fortnight ago.

Redemptorist Fr Seamus Enright hand-delivered a bundle of letters that had been written by prisoners at Limerick prison, and invited Pope Francis to the Treaty City in person.

“I mentioned in the prison that I was going to Rome and it was suggested that I might take some letters from the prison community so I took a bundle of letters,” Fr Enright told the Limerick Leader last week.

“Everybody invited him to go to Limerick,” he said.

The Pope is coming to Ireland in August 2018, and it has been reported that, as per his tradition when he carries out State visits, he will visit a prison in the country.