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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Ireland: St Patrick's Day message from Archbishop Sean Brady
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 Archbishop Sean Brady, the Primate of All-Ireland, yesterday issued his St Patrick's Day message saying: "Patrick enabled the people of Ireland to participate in the life of Europe. This paved the way for the early Irish Church to seek out missionary paths in later centuries and so contributed hugely to the development of faith and culture in mainland Europe. It is therefore appropriate then that come May 1st, the formal entry of the ten EU accession states from Central and Eastern Europe will be signed into law here in Ireland. Patrick was one for breaking down barriers. Though borders were ever transient in fifth century Europe, Patrick's message is one of pushing back frontiers. "Writing his life's story, towards the end of his days, Patrick describes the sense of loneliness that he felt in Ireland, after he had been captured and taken from home as a slave. Repeatedly, he says he felt he was an outsider and a foreigner. This week the Simon Community launched a campaign to raise awareness of homelessness throughout the whole of Ireland. Representatives for the major Christian Churches in Ireland have worked with staff from the Simon Community on this project. "Homelessness is a real problem and affects many more people than those found to live on our streets. It touches people in our parishes and on our streets but it is a problem that can be solved if we work together." Addressing the issue of emigrants Archbishop Brady said: "St Patrick's Day 2004 coincides with Irish Bishops' Conference initiative entitled, 'Supporting Irish Abroad'. The aim of this initiative is to remember the Irish abroad in a constructive way. While we rightly celebrate those emigrants who prospered abroad, we must not forget those who, having lived lives of decency and honour, have fallen on hard times in old age. "When we are enjoying today's festivities on our streetscapes bedecked with green bunting, we should spare a thought for the global Irish family, especially those emigrants living abroad in poverty, but most of all living in loneliness. Lest we forget, these same Irish emigrants remitted over ¤4.5 billion in the bleak 1950s and 60s to sustain households at home in Ireland. I pay special tribute to today's volunteers, social workers and emigrant chaplains ­ the unsung heroes of the Irish communities abroad ­ who endeavour to improve the living conditions of our most needy cousins and neighbours living overseas. "Is there a lesson in Patrick's experience for us today? Surely his writings, coupled with our centuries-long experience of being ourselves an emigrant people, should help shape our views towards emigration policy. Ireland, as current holder of the EU Presidency, should make reference to our Christian heritage and the experiences and story of our own people abroad, in contributing to the debate about appropriate policies and legislation that the EU needs to adopt vis-à-vis the movement of peoples. In its term of Presidency of the European Union, Ireland has a duty to lead public opinion and debate on this critical issue and not fall victim to scaremongering and myths. The objective of our Presidency should be to provide the most enlightened legislation possible and to avoid a "fortress Europe" mentality. "It is also my hope that the recently announced forthcoming referendum to the Irish Constitution concerning the complex subject 'of the constitutional right to Irish citizenship to children born on this island to parents who have no right of residence' and related matters, will be conducted in a tempered, compassionate and responsible manner. Archbishop Brady concluded: "Finally today and very especially, I would like to extend a special Lá fhéile Pádraig greeting to Irish emigrants living in Spain. Last week, terrorism visited the Spanish capital of Madrid in a most callous and barbaric way. Given our own painful past, it is very easy for us to identify with the suffering and anguish that is currently being experienced in Spain. On 15th August 1998, Ireland and Spain felt the deathly hand of terrorism when a car bomb exploded in Omagh. Just as the Spanish people prayed for us at that dark time, so too should we remember all those who died in Madrid last week. May God comfort and console the families of the bereaved and may their loved ones find eternal rest and happiness in His presence." "If the awful and tragic events of last week teach us anything, it is that all of us must work unceasingly for peace here on our own island. Here, at this time, in Patrick's own land, the challenges to peace are many and great. A just and lasting peace must consign for good an end to all forms of paramilitarism and the restoration of an inclusive, stable and effective executive in Northern Ireland," stated Archbishop Brady. "My prayer for all of us on this St Patrick's Day is taken from St Patrick's Breastplate: Christ be in all hearts thinking about me Christ be on all tongues telling of me Christ be the vision in eyes that see me In ears that hear me Christ ever be." Source: Irish Bishops Conference Media Office
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