Elderly Irish in London receive vital support from Chaplaincy

5 Mar, 2024 | Church, News, World

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 in the United Kingdom through the Irish Chaplaincy and other centres.

To illustrate its work today, the following case study has been offered by the Council for Emigrants :

A tale of two days

Day 1: John sits on the edge of his bed, his back is sore and he tries to pack his thin pillows to his back for support.  He eats porridge made on water, it’s not bad, it is filling and cheap.  He keeps the few pounds he has so that he can put the heat on for an hour at night and he spends as little as he can on food.  He will go for a walk later and maybe he might meet Paddy in the park and they can have a chat about the old days.  If he does not see Paddy he will have had no conversation with anyone that day and it is a lonely life for him.  Sometimes he has a chat with his neighbour Tony but he works long days and John hardly ever sees him.


Day 2: John is sitting in his comfortable new armchair.  He is holding a tablet and watching Mass in his old town back in Ireland.  Beside him is a little heater that is cheap to run and on the little table a mug of hot tea with milk and a packet of biscuits.  Paddy is going to call in later and Tony as well.  Tony called in one night last week and John had been in bed to keep warm, the flat was freezing as the heat had gone off.  The next day Tony contacted the Irish Chaplaincy and explained about how he found John and they sent a volunteer out to see what he needed.  They got him an armchair and an economical heater and he has a long visit every week from the volunteer Sarah.  With a small investment, John’s life was completely turned around.

Bernadette Martin (pictured), Administrator of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants said,”money donated from parishes each year in the Emigrant collection helps to provide direct practical support to those who need it most like John and people like him.  If you are interested in supporting this work please email me at [email protected]



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