From The Pastors Desk
 Last Updated  19-Mar-2005 9:20 PM



Sunday : 13th of March 2005

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 priority areas:

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.

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