From the Pastor's Desk:
Collection for our Emigrants.
Last year for the first time many dioceses in Ireland held a
collection on St. Patrick's Day for the provision of care for
our emigrants abroad. The total subscribed was a magnificent
614,068 euro. This enabled the Irish Bishops' Commission for
Emigrants, based in Maynooth, to establish a fund known as SIA
(Supporting Irish Abroad) This is meeting a need that those
of us who were working among them abroad had been crying out
to be met for years. This year it will be taken up in this diocese
as well; on Thursday next, St Patrick's Day.
Every cent of this will be used to provide services outside
of Ireland for the most needy and vulnerable.
Already many new initiatives have been taken. There are four
1. The care of the elderly Irish living both in England and
the United States. Many are living in very poor conditions,
some victims of chronic alcoholism, or just ill and frail. Many
of these sent money home to family in younger days and never
provided for a secure future for them selves. The Prime Time
program made for sad viewing.
2. The provision of information, advocacy and support to Irish
prisoners in foreign prisons, over 1000 in all in 25 countries
- 200 are in six prisons in London alone. Care is provided for
their families too. ICPO (Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas)
takes care of this.
3. The plight of the many undocumented Irish in the USA is of
particular concern to us this year. In May of this year we are
bringing together in Washington all the centres in the USA that
provide care for them. The SIA funding has enabled the Commission
to employ a new Director in Washington to coordinate the services
of the 10 centres. Hopefully there will be encouraging news
on that front shortly.
4. The Emigrant Commission has also been asked to coordinate
services to those arriving in our land from foreign shores.
It's a new challenge to help those who have left their homeland
for a new place to integrate and become self-sufficient.