- Photo opportunity available at 12.00pm at the Papal Cross, Phoenix Park
On Sunday, Alan Brogan, former Dublin Gaelic footballer and three-time All-Ireland medal winner, will be ‘Walking with Hope’ to raise funds for marginalised Irish emigrants. He will be joined by Father Paul Ward and they will begin at midday from the Papal Cross in Phoenix Park. The fundraising walk is in support of the work of the Irish Chaplaincy in London and to raise awareness of the plight of the elderly Irish in Britain, whether living alone, in care homes or in prison.
Alan said, “I am looking forward to my ‘Walk with Hope’ in support of the unheralded but vital work undertaken by the Irish Chaplaincy in London. For over sixty years the Chaplaincy has reached out to the dispossessed Irish who emigrated to the UK for employment and who today exist on the margins: the elderly Irish, Travellers and prisoners. Many of my generation were born to Irish emigrants in the UK and we owe it to all of them to demonstrate our support at this vulnerable time in their lives.”
Ahead of Alan undertaking his five-kilometre walk in Phoenix Park on Sunday, two groups of six have set off from Sacred Heart Church in Kilburn, North London, to walk nine miles via Wormwood Scrubs prison and on to the Irish Embassy to be greeted by the Irish Ambassador to the UK, Mr Adrian O’Neill. Belfast-born Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster Paul McAleenan, is leading another walk from Westminster Cathedral to Westminster Abbey.
A special song for the event 500 Miles with Hope, a re-make of The Proclaimers classic, has been recorded by, amongst others, the children of Holy Family Catholic Primary School in West London. The pupils themselves will be walking a combined total of 500 miles (804 kilometres) around the playground!
To support this initiative please see www.irishchaplaincy.org.uk and on Twitter @IrishChaplaincy
Notes to Editors:
- Photographs for publication purposes will be available from John McElroy on +353 (0) 87 241 6985 or [email protected]
- Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns is chair of the Council for Emigrants of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference which includes the Irish Chaplaincy in London. The Chaplaincy (http://www.irishchaplaincy.org.uk/) was established by the Bishops’ Conference in 1957 as the Irish Emigrant Chaplaincy. Today, the Chaplaincy provides an outreach service to three main groups: elderly Irish people (the Seniors’ Project); prisoners and to Travellers:
– The Irish Chaplaincy Seniors Project services consist of: regular visits to older Irish people in their home, in hospital or residential care home and spending quality time with them to offer positive support and encouragement; maintaining regular telephone contact to ensure isolated older Irish have someone to talk to and share their hopes and concerns with; liaising and advocating on their behalf with health and social care providers and a range of other organisations as required; helping them to reconnect with their families back in Ireland; supporting those who want to move back to Ireland and making this transition as smooth as possible; offering a knowledgeable and comforting presence, in relation to end of life questions and concerns, and providing advice on funeral planning in London and in Ireland; exploring older people’s faith and spirituality with them, and linking them to a local faith community if requested.
– Some of the services provided by the Chaplaincy’s support for prisoners include: visiting Irish prisoners and providing them and their families with advice and information; keeping in contact by letter; assisting families in Ireland to visit prisoners in England and Wales; offering pastoral support if requested; researching, identifying and responding to prisoner needs; and, working closely with other organisations and prison departments caring for the welfare of Irish prisoners and their families.
– The Travellers Equality Project works closely with the Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service; provides information, advice and free bespoke resources for practitioners working with travellers; holds Traveller forums in prisons; provides diversity training for support group; and, carries out thorough research to identify the needs of Irish Travellers.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Katie Crosby +353 (0) 86 862 3298.