The Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin is hosting what is believed to be the first Irish diocesan picnic next month, in an effort to reach out to all the families of the diocese and gather them together as a community.
“The idea is that families from all over the 56 parishes would go to the picnic and it doesn’t matter what size the family is, they are all most welcome,” Bishop Denis Nulty told The Irish Catholic. “They will bring their own picnic with them and something extra for a sharing table for those who maybe don’t have enough.”
The bishop said a special invitation is being issued to the families living in the two direct provision centres in the diocese, in Newbridge and Portlaoise, and also the refugee dispersal centre in Monasterevin. “We’ll be preparing particular baskets for them,” he said.
“We want a sense of bringing together of families and a sense that we are a Church out in the field, it’s back to the whole thing of having the smell of the sheep and getting out there,” he said, referring to Pope Francis’ famous phrase.
The Family Picnic will take place at Punchestown Racecourse on Sunday, August 27 from 1-6pm, with the official opening liturgy at 3pm. Bishop Denis will lead a 2km fun walk around the race track and there will be face painting, pony rides, children’s games and music organised by Margaret Connaughton and Fr Liam Lawton.
“There is no admission, it is free for everybody,” Bishop Denis emphasised. “It’s a bringing together of people.
“We all liked going on a family picnic years ago and I think we don’t do it enough of it now, because we spend more time on phones and on the internet and spend less quality time with one another.”