29 March 2009
Diocese of Meath parishioners ‘Walk To Mass’ for Trócaire’s Lenten Campaign
Fr Michael Kilmartin of Mullingar parish, Co Westmeath, explains: “This Sunday people, young and old, are walking to Mass across the Diocese of Meath. We ask that people walk in support of Khalid, the young Somalian boy who appears on this year’s Trócaire Lenten box. Khalid and his family fled their home as their neighbourhood was being attacked. His family took what they could and walked to save their lives. By walking to Mass today we are remembering millions of people worldwide who are in the same situation as Khalid. I encourage everyone who can walk to Mass today to take part in this parish-wide pilgrimage in solidarity with the suffering people who have no choice but to walk from their homes.
According to Mullingar parishioner Ms Margaret McAuley, “The television commercial by Trócaire, highlighting how families can be pulled apart by conflict, was impressive but heartbreaking. Who could not be moved by the little boy closing his hands over his face as his mother tries in vain to save him? I wanted to show support in some way. In addition to giving to the Trócaire box my family dedicated our walk to Mass today to all displaced families. We remembered them in our prayers also.”
Fr Kilmartin said, “When I think about how secure and safe people feel here in our parish it is hard to imagine how we would cope if we were thrown into a situation like Khalid’s. The thought of having to leave home against our will is truly devastating. Yet this is the reality that has been experienced by so many people across the world. As Christians we cannot be insensitive to people suffering elsewhere – we are called to act in some way. Parishioners converging together today on their local Church are sending a very strong signal of support to our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world experiencing conflict.”
Commenting on the initiative Mr Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trócaire said, “Trócaire is delighted and grateful for this show of support from the parishioners across the Diocese of Meath. This thoughtful demonstration means a great deal to Trócaire and the people we work with across the world.”
Several thousand people are expected to take part in today’s ‘Walk to Mass’ initiative across the Diocese of Meath spanning parishes from Dunboyne to Drogheda to Eglish (outside of Birr) and from Ashbourne to Athlone.
Notes for Editors:
- Trócaire www.trocaire.org is the overseas development agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The Diocese of Meath donated €594,940 to Trócaire’s 2008 Lenten campaign.
- 26 million people around the world have been forced from their home by war and have had to travel to other parts of their country seeking shelter and safety. Young Khalid fled from home in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, with his mother and sisters. The family travelled 500 kilometres to find safety. They now share a one-roomed house with 17 people on the Somalia/Kenya border. Trócaire provides their community with vital nutrition and healthcare and supports education for children.
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678