Following the discovery on Wednesday last, 23 October, of human remains in the trailer of a truck in Essex, England, Archbishop Eamon Martin has offered prayers during Mass celebrated in Saint Patrick & Saint Colman’s Cathedral, Newry, Co Down, in the Diocese of Dromore on Sunday 27 October.
Speaking at the Mass, Archbishop Eamon said, “The grim discovery of 39 people found dead in a refrigerated container near the Essex docks during the week has shocked us all. I encourage everyone to pray for those who have perished, for their loved ones, for all those caught up in this gruesome situation and for those who are called to respond. Pray that the identities of the dead can be quickly established and that all those responsible be stopped and brought to justice.
“Pope Francis has described human trafficking as ‘an open wound on the body of contemporary society – a scourge upon the body of Christ.’ Migrant smuggling and human trafficking feeds on the desperation of vulnerable people, many of whom are fleeing from violence or economic uncertainty. Smugglers and traffickers exploit children, women and men who are prepared to use drastic measures to reach what they think and hope will be a better life, often only to be enslaved and manipulated in forced labour or prostitution. The horror of this discovery should awaken us all to the reality that human trafficking could be happening right in front of us – in our own parish and in our own town. Let us resolve to raise awareness, to keep our eyes open and to cooperate at all levels of society for an end to this evil in our midst. May those who have died find rest in the peace of Christ, and may their loved ones be consoled in the pain of their loss. Amen.”
Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore.