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Students of Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore - Meeting with the Papal Nuncio after ‘Selfie’ Photo

"Students Mob Nuncio for Selfie.  A group of students who assisted at the episcopal ordination of Bishop Phoncie Cullinan in Waterford cathedral on Sunday, stopped the papal nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown to pose for a selfie photo after the ceremony."  Irish Catholic - 16 April, 2015

After this wonderful picture appeared in the Irish Catholic recently of five students from Ardscoil Na Mara, Tramore, Co. Waterford, who took a ‘selfie’ with the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, the students received a personal invite from the Archbishop to visit him in the Apostolic Nunciature in Dublin.

The students were part of a group of Pope John Paul II award students, who were assisting at the ordination of the new Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Bishop Phonsie Cullinan.  After the ceremony, as the students were leaving, they bumped into the Apostolic Nuncio, whom they met last October at the launch of the award in the diocese, and the opportunity arose for a ‘selfie’ photo. This event was captured by a photographer in the Irish Catholic, and published the following week.

Archbishop Brown saw the great photo in the paper, and subsequently invited these students to the Apostolic Nunciature and they met with him along with other students completing the Pope John Paul II award last Friday.  During the meeting, the students chatted with the Archbishop, and asked him a number of questions about his journey to priesthood; how he came to be appointed to Ireland; his views and hopes for the Church in Ireland; his concerns about the current lack of vocations; his meetings with three Popes including Pope Francis; and his time working in the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and as a priest in the Bronx, New York.

After the meeting, the Archbishop presented each student with a Rosary Beads, blessed by the Holy Father, which the students prayed upon on the bus journey home. This was followed by another photo opportunity, this time at the entrance to the Nunciature.

Prior to the meeting with Archbishop Brown, the students travelled to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and had a tour of the College Chapel, and noted the places where Pope John Paul II visited there in his historic visit to Ireland on 1 October 1979. They stood and prayed at the altar where Saint John Paul II stood and addressed the seminarians, and paused at the Statue of Our Lady along the cloister of the college, as the late Pope did on that historic day.

The students also had an opportunity to question seminarians about their vocation story; why they are thinking of being ordained priests; what challenges they see for the future; their views in the up-coming referendum on marriage; and what life is like for them as a seminarian.

One of the seminarians they met is Rev. Shane O’Neill from Knockanore, who will be ordained priest in July for the diocese of Waterford and Lismore.

The students were overwhelmed at the events of the day, which came simply from one photo in the newspaper.

Archbishop Brown commented: “These students and their energy are such an inspiration to all young people and to everyone involved in the life of the Church in Ireland at this time”

Diocesan co-ordinator for the Pope John Paul II award, Fr. Michael Toomey, said: “This was a wonderful occasion, and the students were able to trace back to a key moment in Irish church history with the visit of Pope John Paul II to Ireland. The students worked hard in preparation for the visit, reading the two speeches he gave in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. The students are a credit to their parish, school and families for the respect and enthusiasm showed. ”

Fr.  Michael added: “The selfie picture in the Irish Catholic was such a wonderful moment which escalated in a visit to the Apostolic Nunciature. I would like to personally thank Archbishop Brown for his very kind invitation to these students, and his overwhelming support to the Pope John Paul II award in the diocese and across the country”. 

Archbishop Charles Brown welcomes the ‘selfie’ students from Ardscoil Na Mara, Tramore, at the Apostolic Nunciature, Dublin. 

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