The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has urged Irish people and those of Irish descent celebrating St Patrick’s Day to remember the plight of migrants.
Archbishop Eamon Martin – St. Patrick’s modern-day successor as Archbishop of Armagh – used his message for the 17th March feast to recall that St Patrick was first brought to Ireland as a slave by traffickers.
The archbishop said that “as Irish people, we cannot think of Patrick without acknowledging the enormous humanitarian and pastoral challenges facing growing numbers of people who find themselves displaced and without status in our world.”
“This is so shockingly exemplified by the refugee crisis here in Europe,” he said.
“Prompted by the situation of thousands of displaced people around the world, let us think about Patrick the ‘unlearned refugee’ (as he once described himself), the slave in exile, Patrick the undocumented migrant,” Archbishop Martin said.
Referring to, among others, the estimated 50,000 Irish people living illegally in the United States, the archbishop – who is also president of the Irish bishops’ conference – pointed out that “many of our compatriots remain undocumented in various countries around the world and, in some cases, feel vulnerable and treated with suspicion.”
Picture: St Patrick is depicted in a stained-glass window at the Co-Cathedral of St Joseph in Brooklyn, N.Y. Today marks the feast of St Patrick, the patron of Ireland honoured for his leadership in evangelising the country in the fifth century. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic).