Pope Francis Visit To Ireland: What You Need To Know

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Ireland on Saturday morning and become the first pontiff to visit the country in nearly 40 years, for the World Meeting of Families over two days.

The event will take place at Phoenix Park in Dublin, one of the biggest city parks in Europe.

Pope Francis is set to land in the Irish capital at 10:30 a.m. and be transported to Aras an Uachtarain, where Irish President Michael D. Higgins resides. A welcome ceremony is planned for 11:15 a.m. The Pope is scheduled to meet with authorities at Dublin Castle that afternoon, as well as visit St Mary's Pro-Cathedral.

In the late afternoon Saturday, Pope Francis is slated to make a private visit to the Capuchin Day Centre and the Bow Street centre operated by Franciscan Order monks to help the homeless. That evening, he will preside over the Festival of Families at the Croke Park stadium.

Today the World Meeting of #Families begins in Dublin. Let us join in prayer with all the families of the world, especially those in difficulty. @WMOF2018 @LaityFamilyLife

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 21, 2018

On Sunday morning, the Pope will fly to County Mayo and visit the Apparition Chapel at the Knock Shrine. After a couple hours there, the Pope will fly back to Dublin and have lunch with the Papal Delegation. He will participate in the closing Papal Mass of the World Meeting of the Families in the mid-afternoon, then meet with Irish bishops.

A farewell ceremony is planned for the Pope at Dublin Airport at 6:30 p.m., before he travels to Rome.

The Pope's visit is not without controversy.

Sexual abuse survivors have called on the Catholic Church to fund a full-fledged probe into claims that more than 1,000 minors have been molested in the past. A grand jury in Pennsylvania released a document stating that more than 300 priests were responsible for sexually abusing kids in the state.

"The pope will be welcomed with fervor by the devout, but that number is waning, with many liberal Catholics left wondering where they fit," wrote Irish Times columnist Una Mullally in an op-ed published by CNN on Friday. "Many Irish people believe that the Catholic Church has not done enough to atone for the abuse its clergy perpetrated, and how it endeavored to cover up that abuse and protect pedophiles."