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Bishop McKeown selected as bishop catechist for WYD

By Sarah Mac Donald - 19 July, 2013


Pope Francis in the papal Ford Focus on the way to Castel Gondolfo.


Bishop Donal McKeown of Down and Connor has been selected as one of the bishop catechists who will provide catechesis to English-language pilgrims attending next week’s World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

The Bishop, who is Chair of the Bishops’ National Committee of Diocesan Youth Directors, is already in Brazil with some of the 170 young pilgrims from Ireland who are attending the event.

Over 250 bishops from around the world will provide catechetical sessions for pilgrims between 24-26 July.

Each session will take place from 9am to 1pm, and will conclude with a Mass said by the bishop catechist. Those attending the sessions will be able to go to confession and ask questions of the bishops.

The bishop catechists are to focus on three different themes during each of the sessions.  On 24 July, the theme will be “Thirst for hope, thirst for God.”  On 25 July, the theme is “Being a disciple of Christ”, while on 26 July, it is “Go be a missionary.”

About two million young Catholics from 170 countries are expected to attend WYD2013.

Separately, Pope Francis has opted to ditch his bullet-proof popemobile in favour of an open-top jeep for the faith gathering in Brazil.

According to Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, the Pontiff feels he will be better able to communicate with the young pilgrims and “can reach out and touch people”.

The bullet-proof popemobile was introduced after Pope John Paul II was shot in May 1981 by Mehmet Ali Agca. It is used whenever the pope travels outside Rome.

Meanwhile, last week, Pope Francis surprised officials when he arrived at Castel Gandolfo in a Ford Focus – a complete change from the usual high end Mercedes used by other church leaders.

The scaling back on plush vehicles follows the Pope’s call to priests and religious to drop their showy cars in favour of something more modest.

“It hurts me when I see a priest or nun with the latest-model car. You can’t do this. A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but, please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world,” he said.

By Sarah Mac Donald

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