At their Summer General Meeting, which took place last week in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, bishops expressed their deep gratitude to parishioners, priests and religious across the country for their continued support for Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Bishops’ Conference.
Last year, €29.1m was donated to Trócaire by the Irish public. Bishops said, ‘These donations enabled Trócaire to bring support and relief to 2.8 million people throughout the developing world. This expression of faith and solidarity continues to change the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.’
Bishops remain ‘deeply troubled’ by the humanitarian crises facing people in various parts of the world. Bishops offered prayers for the people of South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, which remains deeply scarred by conflict, saying ‘The high levels of violence being perpetrated against women and children are particularly shocking and unacceptable. Over 4.2 million people have been displaced from their homes by conflict in the country, while over 1.1 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. Through Trócaire, the Catholic Church in Ireland is responding to their needs and we will continue to do so.’
Bishops also expressed deep concern regarding recent events in Gaza, saying ‘People throughout the Holy Land deserve to live in peace and dignity. The people of Gaza seek a better life for themselves and their children but the conditions under which they live are unacceptable and unsustainable. Recent cuts to the budget of the UN agency responsible for the care of Palestinian refugees are not helpful and indeed will only make matters worse.’
Bishops said that the international community must find a way to ease the plight of the people of Gaza as a matter of urgency, and that they will continue to support efforts to ensure peace, justice and dignity for all people of the region.
For more information on the work of Trócaire, see www.trocaire.org.