Sr. Philomena Rooney PBVM is one of the Sisters of the Presentation of the BVM in Nottingham. She attended some of the events organised for the visit of the Holy Father Francis, when he visited Ireland about two weeks ago, towards the end of the World Meeting of Families. Here is a note sent by Sr. Philomena about her experience there.
"I was happy to be in Ireland when Pope Francis came to the World meeting of Famlies. Early in the week, I attended two preparation ceremonies in packed churches. One was in my home town, when the relics of the Little Flower and her parents, S. Zelie and S. Louis, were venerated over-night and then for the opening ceremony in Carlow Cathedral, where the bell ringing led into the symbolic service, which was led by the bishop and the people of the diocese with a choir of a hundred and fifty.
"Once Pope Francis arrived, all eyes were on the welcome and the events that were relayed to us by television. The welcome was warn and challenging to the Pope. There were very special moments during the day, which culminated in the festival at Croke Park. Everyone I met said how they had enjoyed the concert.
"I travelled by bus with the pilgrims from my home town, with my family members. We were photographed and arrived in Kylemore Park and had the long walk in the rain. It was amazing to look forward and backward [during the walk], as the throngs of people went forward to the gate. We participated by looking at the big screen as the altar was way up front.
"Pope Francis smiled and waved as he was led around in the mobile. He was challenged on issues of abuse, and he listed very carefully and responded by asking for pardon and forgiveness. One prayer was ended by him, saying, 'Give me the strength to ask for justice.' I am so pleased to have been present and thank Pope Francis for his love and the joy he brought to Ireland."