Saturday, October 24, 2015

Proposed Papal Visit to Ireland Should Include Matt Talbot Shrine

The following is a Letter to the Editor of The Irish Catholic published on 15 October 2015 at
The Irish Catholic
The Irish Catholic

Dear Editor,
Your front page story in last week’s The Irish Catholic (08/10/2015) focused on a possible papal visit to Ireland in 2018 and the places that may be included in his itinerary. (See

Pope hand-picked Ireland in hope of 2018 visit
Francis has a ‘special affection’ for Ireland
- See more at:
If he were to come he should also visit the Shrine of Matt Talbot. This was actually included in John Paul II’s own itinerary, but due to logistic reasons, he was just driven past the church. The disappointment of the locals is still very palpable today, 36 years later. (See

Though situated right in the heart of Dublin, the North inner city is a marginalised community having to endure the social stigma attached to it. However there are many positive elements to be found there which are often overlooked.

In the words of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: “Inner city Dublin has a great history of people looking after one another, especially when times are hard. This community has shown that it has extraordinary resources of goodness and caring and courage.”

Pope Francis loves the deprived and marginalised, and would feel very much at home visiting such a community to which Matt Talbot belonged. Moreover, Matt would be very much to the heart of Pope Francis, since he is a clear “witness of the mercy and tenderness of the Lord”.

The Pope’s visit will highlight the World Meeting of Families; in the inner city he will surely meet many resilient families, as the archbishop himself affirms: “There are great families in this parish. There are great mothers and grandmothers, who when things went wrong kept families together.”

If the Pope were to visit Matt Talbot’s Shrine he would surely also visit his own Jesuit Community in Gardiner street, and pray at the shrine of Venerable John Sullivan. Holiness touches the lives of all people, whatever their background!

Yours etc.,
Richard Ebejer SDB,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
Sean McDermott Street, Dublin.
Site of the Matt Talbot Shrine