Bishop Paul Dempsey of Achonry, Chair of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants, has highlighted the forthcoming Irish Emigrant Collection which takes place in many dioceses on Saint Patrick’s Day.
Bishop Dempsey said, “As a Church and a people, we must continue to reach out to those who are affected by emigration. We remember and pray for all Irish people overseas – those who are recently departed and those who left our shores many years ago. We remember the families they have left behind and pray they will find strength and comfort as they cope with the pain of separation. We also think of those who have travelled from foreign lands to begin new lives in Ireland and pray that they receive the same welcome that we would wish for our own emigrants far from home.”
Drawing attention to the work of the IECE, Bishop Dempsey said, “Since 1957, the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants (IECE) has been responding to the needs of Irish emigrants around the world. It continues to do so through the work of its pastoral centres in the United States and the UK, which provide a myriad of services to the most vulnerable members of the Irish emigrant community. It also does so by providing grants to other like-minded organisations that provide targeted and specialist support to discrete categories of vulnerable emigrants – from the aged and lonely to those with addiction and mental health problems.”
In conclusion, the Bishop of Achonry said, “I wish to thank all those who generously support the collection for emigrants each year. This funding allows us to offer essential support to those organisations providing pastoral, practical outreach to the most marginalised and vulnerable groups of Irish people, many of whom are living lives of quiet desperation.”