· To be read at all Masses in the Diocese of Galway on Saturday and Sunday, 12 and 13 September
· “Basic humanity, common decency and the obligations of Christianity demand that food and shelter be made available for each of God’s children” – Bishop Drennan
My dear people,
Over recent days we have watched with great distress the unfolding humanitarian tragedy in the Middle East and in Europe. Once again the ugly consequences of war have caused multitudes of good people to take great risks as they seek refuge in foreign lands. Like the Holy Family who were refugees in Egypt from the murderous Herod, like our own legions of destitute Irish families aboard dreadful coffin ships of pestilence and famine, the parents of Syria rightly seek safety and security for their families. We have witnesses tragic scenes. Multitudes on the move; hungry, thirsty, exhausted. And many, young and old, drowned, suffocated and starved. Our eyes fill with tears. Our hearts break. We know that as Christians, as humans, we have no choice but to act.
Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, has long been working on the ground throughout this troubled region and continues to make a very profound contribution to the lives of so many people. And for many weeks now our Navy has represented us with compassion and professionalism in the Mediterranean. We are proud of the brave men and women who are working so selflessly on board the vessels of our Irish Navy, and pray for each of them, and for their families ashore. Bring them safely home to their loved ones Lord, when their work is done. However much more is now required.
Today and tomorrow a collection is being taken up in the parishes of Galway city for COPE Galway. This excellent organisation has, for many years, responded to the needs of those who are homeless in our community. There are many, many people in our diocese who are entirely deserving of that support. Basic humanity, common decency and the obligations of Christianity demand that food and shelter be made available for each of God’s children. COPE Galway is to the fore in providing these necessities to the many who are in need in Galway. I urge you to continue to help as COPE Galway continues this very significant work.
But I must also urge you to respond with generosity and openness to the needs of the distressed Syrian people. We must stand ready to do what we can to help. In the days ahead it is fervently hoped that a nationally coordinated, Government-led initiative will reach out to many thousands of refugees, inviting them to find safety among us here in Ireland. The Church, both nationally and locally, will fully support this project in every way possible. We are eager and anxious to do so. In our prayers this weekend, and by our words and actions in the weeks ahead, let us not be found wanting. We are called to be the people of Christ. Let us now show all that is good, all that is true and all that is right about our baptismal call. By our fruits we shall be known!
+ Martin Drennan
Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh
Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678