Updated: 27/05/13 : 06:16:37
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Pope's rep in town tonight

PAPAL NUNCIO Archbishop Charles Brown will speak publicly on a visit to Sligo tonight, Monday.

However, it seems unlikely he will make any announcement on a new Bishop.

The Nuncio is the representative of Pope Francis in Ireland and has full diplomatic status equivalent to an ambassador.

He will be the guest speaker during the 7.30pm Mass in St Anne's chapel to mark the conclusion of the week-long 'Festival of Faith.'

Archbishop Brown will address the theme  "Celebration of the Eucharist: Holding the door open for those coming after us!''

The 'Festival of Faith' was organised by the Sligo cluster of parishes in the town and environs.

Key Role

The office of Nuncio will play a key role in any future decisions on the Diocese of Elphin.

It remains when and if a successor to incumbent Dr Christy Jones will be announced, or if Diocese will be merged with another.

Dr Jones submitted his resignation to the previous Pontiff, Pope Emeritus Benedict the 16th, when he attained 75 years of age in March 2011.

Insiders suggest it is most unlikely that Dr Jones successor in Elphin will be announced at this time.

He is regarded as one of the few Irish prelates 'playing at the top of his game.'

Elphin was one of the few dioceses to emerge unscathed from the most recent review of handling of child abuse issues.

The local Bishop has also been to the forefront of the Hierarchy's response to the Government on proposals to legislate this summer for abortion in, says the Cabinet, limited circumstances.

The Papal Nuncio's trip to Sligo tonight is his first official visit since the Government closed its Embassy in the Vatican.

That move was announced as a cost-saving measure but this was subsequently disproved by official figures.

Sligo Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin was reported to be among a number of party backbenchers unhappy with the close down of the embassy.

The Vatican Embassy closure was announced by the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Gilmore.