Bishop Denis Nulty, with Emma Kelly-Harney, Cathal Tobin, Anna Mae MNcHugh, Aoife Ní Chuin, Franciszek Mizgala, and Emma Tobin, pictured at the launch. Photo: Tony Keane
Bishop Denis Nulty today launched the first ever Kildare and Leighlin diocesan picnic in Punchestown, issuing a special invitation families living in the two direct provision centres in the diocese.
The picnic will take place on Sunday 27 August at Punchestown Racecourse and is part of diocesan preparations for next year’s World Meeting of Families.
Speaking ahead of the event Bishop Nulty said, “We all liked going on a family picnic years ago and I think we don’t do enough of it now, because we spend more time on phones and on the internet and spend less quality time with one another.
“With this family picnic we want all families to feel welcome, this is an event for every age and its clear intention is to build up the sense that we are a Church out in the field. It’s a bringing together of people, all people, all families. You might ask what family you belong to, you are a valued member of the Diocesan family.”
Families from all 56 parishes in the diocese have been invited to the picnic by Bishop Nulty. They have been asked to bring along their own picnic with a bit of extra food for a sharing table for those who maybe don’t have enough to eat.
A special invitation has been issued to the families living in direct provision centres in Newbridge and Portlaoise, as well as the refugee centre in Monasterevin.
The diocese will be putting together special picnic baskets for these families.
The family picnic will run from 1pm until 6pm, with the official opening liturgy at 3pm.
Bishop Denis will lead a 4km fun walk around the race track and there will be face painting, children’s disco, stilt walkers, a pet corner and lots of children’s activities and games.
There will be a display of UN vehicles from the nearby Curragh camp with military personnel on hand to share stories about the Irish contribution to the UN peace-keeping force.
Music for the event is being organised by Margaret Connaughton and Father Liam Lawton and will include local choirs and some very special surprise guests including Irish country music star Derek Ryan and renowned Irish soprano Celine Byrne.
Admission to the event is completely free.
You can find out more about the picnic on www.kandle.ie and by following the #picnicinpunchestown hashtag on social media.