A Council of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Columba Centre, Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Tel: 01-5053155 Fax: 01-6016401 Email:[email protected]
28th February 2022
Emigration remains an integral and inextricable part of our national story. Whilst the unparalleled challenges of the global pandemic have curtailed recent travel and migration; of the hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens already living overseas, a significant number have found their already precarious situations plummet into even greater uncertainty and hardship. We also see people beginning to migrate again now in search of hope and opportunity.
As is detailed in the enclosed brochure, the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants (IECE) and Irish pastoral centres and chaplaincies overseas, continue to provide essential pastoral and practical care to the most vulnerable amongst our diaspora. They have responded admirably to the heightened needs of the vulnerable Irish wrought by Covid-19. This has included the establishment of foodbanks in the US for undocumented Irish who lost their jobs because of the pandemic and could not receive any state aid or welfare to feed themselves and their families, or the elderly Irish in the UK who received regular contact and support from the Irish Chaplaincy to combat their isolation and enhanced vulnerability.
Though acutely aware of the present challenges faced by each diocese, we again invite you to take up a collection in 2022 to enable us to continue to provide support to Irish citizens overseas. Funds raised through the collection will be used to support the work of the Council and other projects that provide pastoral outreach to marginalised and vulnerable emigrants from our shores. Whilst the monies raised has been reduced by virtue of the pandemic, we have been greatly heartened by the steadfast commitment of so many dioceses in holding a Collection despite the challenges.
There is hardly a family in the country that does not have a loved one living overseas or that experienced emigration at some point. Many left involuntarily and continue to live lives of quiet desperation. Through the Emigrant Collection and the support of many dioceses down through the years, the IECE has been able to support the most vulnerable members of our Irish community; whose need not only remains today but has been exacerbated by recent events.
An information leaflet and poster for use by parishes and diocese holding a Collection accompanies this letter. The IECE will also be sharing relevant content on the Bishops’ Conference website and via social media in the run-up to St Patrick’s Day, which is a time that many dioceses choose to hold their collection.
I conclude with the words of the His Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (14th January, 2018):
“The Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future.” Yours sincerely,
Bishop of Achonry
Chair of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants