Scottish bishop urges generous welcome to Eastern Europeans

 Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen, has written to his priests and people, to say that he expects two priests from Poland to be arriving soon, to work in his far flung diocese. He has also invited parishioners to be generous in their welcome to the increasing numbers of people who have come to Scotland, since the enlargement of the European Union on 1 May 2004. In a pastoral letter read or distributed in all churches across the diocese, at the weekend, Bishop Moran said: "One group of people to whom we should be reaching out in love is the huge number of recent arrivals from Eastern Europe. From Lithuania, Slovakia and especially from Poland, thousands of strangers have arrived over the past year. We as Christians must surely welcome them. "You may have heard how bishops in Poland have responded to my recent visit to ask their help. One priest, Father Richard, arrives this week. Another, Father Matthew, will be here in July. And already, Father Joe has been with us since last August, celebrating Mass in five different centres across the diocese." He continued: "Providing Mass is an important part of our welcome: but only one part. These new arrivals, mostly young, talented and eager, need your understanding and your help to settle into Scotland. Many, but not all, soon learn English: parish communities can help with this, and some already have. Most of the new arrivals find work, but the work is often well below their full potential: we can restore their self-esteem by the way we greet them. "Five thousand have arrived in the Inverness area, and several thousand in Aberdeen. Even the smaller country parishes report significant numbers. The great majority come from a strong Catholic tradition: they have a big contribution to make to the spiritual vigour of our parishes." The Roman Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen has seventy Churches and Mass Centres spread through out the Eastern Highlands and the North East of Scotland. It also has churches in Orkney and Shetland.

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