Saint Patrick’s Day is a special day for Irish people living at home and abroad. In 2012 we celebrate our national saint’s day in the midst of a deep economic recession which has resulted again in the heartbreak and pressure of unemployment and emigration for many individuals and families throughout Ireland.
The plight of Patrick, himself a migrant, has been faced by many Irish people who have struggled to live and integrate into new cultures. Patrick was called to serve and bring God to a people far from his homeland. Our national Saint was a pioneer in an inhospitable climate. In the words of Saint Patrick “May it never befall me to be separated by my God from his people whom he has won in this most remote land. I pray God that he gives me perseverance, and that he will deign that I should be a faithful witness for his sake right up to the time of my passing” (The Confession of St Patrick).
According to the Central Statistics Office, as of last September, 40,200 people from the Republic emigrated in the year to April, a rise of 45% on the previous 12 months. As a response the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants has prepared an information pack for publication to coincide with Saint Patrick’s Day. It will equip our emigrants with material that will allow them make informed decisions as well as support them in their new life abroad.
This information pack includes: (i) a snapshot of the reality of emigration, which will include stories from Irish emigrants about their personal experiences of emigration and stories from those who work to support Irish emigrants; (ii) practical information on emigration, such as visa requirements and information on accommodation and employment, and health insurance; and (iii) prayers for emigrants.