Statement by Bishop Kirby and Bishop Field for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees
• Seminar to take place in February: ‘Journeying Together – Challenges facing the Migrant Today’
Speaking in advance of World Migrant and Refugee Sunday – which the Catholic Church celebrates this Sunday 19 January 2014 – Bishop John Kirby and Bishop Raymond Field said:
“On World Migrant and Refugee Sunday we remember and pray for all those who have travelled far from their homeland in search of a better life. We remember those who have left our shores in the hope of making a new life for themselves abroad; and also, those who have joined us to begin their new life in Ireland.
“While migration may present many opportunities we should not underestimate the challenges facing migrants today, both in our own country and overseas. Many people are forced to leave all they know because of forces outside of their control. This affects not only the migrant themselves, but also those they have left behind,” the bishops said.
In his first message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which takes place on Sunday, Pope Francis reminds us that migrants and refugees do not merely represent a problem to be solved, but are “brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved”.
To address the challenges facing migrants, two of the councils of the Irish Episcopal Conference: the Council for Immigrants and the Council for Emigrants, are co-hosting a seminar on 19 February next. Chaired by journalist and author Shane Coleman, and involving Church representatives and NGOs, the seminar will provide a unique opportunity to explore both emigration and immigration in an Irish, European and global context. Key areas for discussion will be: the effects of migration on the family; the undocumented, both at home and abroad; and Irish prisoners overseas and foreign national prisoners in Ireland.
The 2014 message by Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees is now available for publication at: http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2013/09/24/popes-message-word-day-migrants-refugees/
Notes for Editors
• The Council for Immigrants and Council for Emigrants of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference work to raise awareness of the challenges facing migrants and show solidarity with those affected by migration. It is our hope that all migrants, whether at home or abroad, will be welcomed and respected as they travel in search of a better future.
• Bishop John Kirby is Bishop of Clonfert and Chair of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants.
• Bishop Raymond Field is Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin and Chair of the Council for Immigrants of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
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