There was blue sky over the papal altar in Dublin’s Phoenix Park today. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Ray O’Hanlon
Countless words are being spoken and written in the run up to the papal visit to Ireland this weekend.
There is invective, argument and much soul searching over the failures of the church led by Pope Francis to come to terms with a legacy of clerical sexual abuse and national tragedies such as the Magdalene Laundries and Tuam Babies.
There is no end of commentary on how Ireland has changed since the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979.
One of the changes concerns the weather.
Back in 1979 nobody had heard of global warming or climate change.
Ireland, after all, was a place where the weather changed sometimes by the hour. Four seasons in one day was a popular refrain.
But of course weather and climate are not the same thing precisely.
The former is a symptom of the latter.
So even if the climate is changing, Ireland’s weather, more often than not, stays the same.
That is to say, well, changeable; though lately more changeable in terms of extremes.
So if Pope Francis finds himself facing into a storm of criticism from some quarters surrounding his visit for the World Meeting of Families, he can at least take solace from the fact that his Irish sojourn will not come with a meteorological storm.
That was last week and it was called Storm Ernesto.
Saturday and Sunday promises more traditional Irish fare: the classis sunny spells and scattered showers.
The pope flies in on Saturday and that will be the better of the two days. It will be a fine day with sunshine and only a chance of an occasional shower.
However, rain will be rolling in from the Atlantic on Saturday night.
That’s not entirely a bad thing given the fact that Ireland has been experiencing a drought this summer – more sunny spells and fewer scattered showers.
Prayers have been offered in churches for rain.
So the pope will be advised to bring along a papal umbrella for his visit to Knock in County Mayo on Sunday morning.
A rainy Sunday morning in Mayo. One to bottle up and bring back to torrid Rome.
Rain is also promised for Dublin’s Phoenix Park where half a million people are expected to turn up for the papal Mass that afternoon.
But the rain should clear in time for the Mass.
So the forecast says.
If it’s accurate change will be in the air again, perhaps in more ways than one.