The people of Kilfenora could soon be dusting off the red carpet in preparation for a visit from their Bishop, Pope Francis.
The Pope is expected to make a historic visit to Ireland in 2018 and speculation is already mounting about a possible visit to Clare.
Although in the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, the Pope is technically the bishop of the north Clare village – with Bishop of Galway, Martin Drennan, administrating duties in his absence.
Over the weekend Dublin was announced as the venue for the World Meeting of Families in 2018 – an event normally attended by the Pope.
Although no details of a papal visit have been announced, speculation is mounting that Pope Francis will make an extended visit to the island of Ireland and multiple engagements in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are expected.
The Bishop of Kilfenora was a separate episcopal title until 1750 when the Catholic church united it with Kilmacduagh in Galway with both dioceses were later united with the diocese of Galway.
This means there are three separate dioceses that are covered by the Bishop of Galway in both Connacht and Munster. However the rules of the church dictate that no bishop can be split between two different provinces.
So, in 1883, a Papal Dictate was issued to make the Pope the Bishop of Kilfenora to avoid any conflict.
The Clare People contacted the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora in relation to the possibility of a papal visit but no response was received at the time of going to press.

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