It is not known whether Pope Francis will attend

The next World Meeting of Families will be held in Dublin in 2018, it has been announced.

The news was released towards the end of the Mass celebrated in Philadelphia over the weekend for this year’s World Meeting.

It has not been revealed whether the Pope will attend the 2018 event, but if he did it would be the first papal trip to Ireland since St John Paul’s 1979 visit.

The World Meeting of Families was started by St John Paul in 1994 and takes place every three years; Philadelphia was the eighth visit.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Primate of All-Ireland, said: “I am delighted to hear that Pope Francis has announced that the 9th World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin, and that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is in Philadelphia with our delegation to hear the news directly from the Holy Father,”

“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.”