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World Meeting of Families 2018

Sep 09 2018

When we were asked if we wanted to volunteer to help out for the Pope’s visit back in April I was delighted, not only to be asked, but to have so many of my friends and classmates to volunteer with. In total, forty students and ten teachers from Presentation College, Carlow made the journey up to the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park for the once in a lifetime opportunity.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, except a night on a cold, hard floor of a school gym and the chance to see Pope Francis. On top of this, I got the chance to meet fellow CEIST students from across the country, to make new friends and to be a part of history.

We left on Saturday morning and we were trained in the Phoenix Park that afternoon with thousands of other volunteers. We then went back to our host school for the evening where we mixed with other schools and relaxed. The following morning we had an early start and we were in the Phoenix Park by 6:30am, to say many of us were bleary-eyed was an understatement!

As the day went on we helped to prepare the Eucharist in the sub chapels and we got the chance to roam the Phoenix Park and get our bearings. The time flew by, and before we knew it, people were arriving in droves and we all went to our stations to direct people.

Eventually the Pope himself arrived to great fanfare and it felt as if the crowd were rushing towards him wherever he went. The wait to see him was long but worth it. Not only to see the Pope smiling and waving, but also to see the delight on people’s faces as he passed by was an unparalleled experience. 

When the Mass began, from where I was standing, the crowd was massive and was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was awe-inspiring that so many people would brave the rain and the wind just to see one man.

On the morning of the Mass I received great news; I was to be a minister of the Eucharist, I was delighted! It topped the day off for me, that I would be able to carry out such an important task in the Mass. This was on top of meeting people from not only around Ireland, but from around the world. 

The World Meeting of Families 2018 for me was about making new friends, creating great memories and having the opportunity to partake in a once in a lifetime spiritual experience with so many of my fellow classmates.

Daniel Pender
Head Boy

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