The next World Meeting of Families will be in Dublin, a leading Vatican prelate has announced.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who heads the Pontifical Council for Families, disclosed the 2018 meeting would be in Dublin at the end of the concluding Mass for this year's event, celebrated by Pope Francis in Philadelphia yesterday.
The World Meeting of Families takes place every three years. It was started by Pope John Paul II in 1994 to celebrate the Church's role in building and helping the family.
Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin said: "Three years ago the 50th International Eucharistic Congress was a great celebration of faith for Ireland, and it attracted pilgrims from all around the world. I am confident that the World Meeting of Families in 2018 will also be an uplifting event for all of us."
The Dublin meeting, the ninth, will be significant because it will bear witness to the first fruits of the Synod on the Family which meets next month and the Pope's resulting teaching document to be issued next year.
Archbishop Martin said: "Despite many challenges, the family remains at the heart of faith and of so much that we hold important in this country."
If the Pope attends it will be the first papal trip to Ireland since St John Paul's in 1979.