Catholic Church needs another €5m to fund pope’s visit

The 32-hour papal visit expected to cost €32m

National collections and appeals for the World Meeting of Families  started last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

National collections and appeals for the World Meeting of Families started last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The Catholic Church is trying to plug a €5 million hole in its fundraising for the visit of Pope Francis.

Just days before the pontiff arrives in Ireland, organisers say they have so far raised less than €15 million towards the trip.

National collections and appeals for donations started last year.

The 32-hour papal visit is expected to cost about €32 million, with the church seeking to raise €20 million while the State is preparing to contribute between €10 million and €20 million.

‘Phenomenal’ response

A spokeswoman for the World Meeting of Families, a church festival taking place in Dublin which will culminate this weekend in a series of events attended by the pope, said the response from Irish people had been “phenomenal” and was “exceeding everyone’s expectations”.

“To allow hundreds of thousands of people to attend the events free, the Irish church has raised almost €15 million from fundraising and from national collections,” she said.

“Five million euro is still needed and we are continuing our fundraising efforts.”

She said they would not comment on the nature of funding and sponsorship, whether from individuals or corporate.

“As we have now reached the most intense point of preparations for our event this week, we will not be issuing further details on costs and expenditure until after the event,” she added.

Last December, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin did not rule out a Vatican contribution. At that stage €5 million had been raised.

Several national collections have been held since then.

Funding was also being sought from likely contributors in the Irish business world and from Irish America.

Norah Casey, best known for starring in the television series Dragons’ Den, is on the fundraising committee.

Bank of Ireland has donated the services of one its senior executives, Niall O’Shea, as head of financial development for the World Meeting of Families 2018, where he is in charge of fundraising.