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    Migrant priests to be honoured in Rome

    Thursday, May 31st, 2007

    The Irish community in Rome will be celebrating the lives of two priests, one an Irish native who worked in Rome and the other who came from Holland but worked in Dublin.

    The Basilica of San Clemente will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the excavations undertaken by Dominican priest Joseph Mullooly. Fr Mullooly was born in Longford in 1812 and in 1840 left for Italy, where he entered the Dominican Order. He became superior of San Clemente in 1850 and remained there for the rest of his life. (more…)

    Vietnamese the “new Irish” in US priesthood

    Monday, May 28th, 2007

    Vietnamese priests in the US are being referred to as the “new Irish”, according to an article in the California Catholic Daily. The article points out that the Irish-born accounted for 80% of the priests in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s; their places have now been taken by Latin Americans, Nigerians, and people from South and Southeast Asia.

    ‚ÄúVietnamese priests are filling the gap,‚Ä? Ryan Lilyengren, a spokesman for the diocese of Orange, told the Los Angeles Times. ‚ÄúPeople are calling them the new Irish.‚Ä?

    Vietnamese Catholics number only about 300,000 (or about 1% of US Catholics), but they along with other Asian seminarians make up 12% of the nation’s seminarians.

    Read the article on the California Catholic website.

    Church marks World Day of Migrants and Refugees

    Monday, January 15th, 2007

    Yesterday was the Catholic Church’s 93rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees, and this year’s theme was “the migrant family”.

    √Čan Board Chair Rr Alan Hilliard gets prominent coverage in the Irish Times with remarks calling for the reunification of families. Fr Hilliard, who is also the secretary of the Irish Catholic bishop’s department of pastoral care, is quoted in the report as saying, “Immigration policy should be about people first. Migrants by their nature live far away from those they love. Often this is due to economic necessity, and this in turn can be compounded by restrictive immigration laws.”

    He adds, “Currently in Ireland there are over 100 Catholic religious services for the pastoral support of our immigrant communities. The provision of these religious services, which show respect for the language and customs of the immigrant, is an important initiative to cultivate a spirit of welcome and to facilitate the journey to integration.”

    Pope Benedict issued a statement to mark the day; it is available on the Vatican website.

    Bishop Hegarty calls for respect for migrants

    Monday, November 13th, 2006

    Dr Seamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry and Chair of the Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants, has spoken of the need to respect the dignity of individual migrants in the face of globalisation. Bishop Hegarty was speaking on November 9th at the Drop-In Centre and Supported Housing Complex in Birmingham. He said the Church had a role to play in building bridges with communities and individuals living abroad. He added:

    Our history shows us that during instances of people neglect, exploitation and removal of status, it resulted in an immense fall-out in terms of human suffering and economic stagnation. And what, you may ask, is the 21st century lesson that can be learnt from this historical legacy? It is thus: If we lose sight of the individual migrant, we promote globalisation without a conscience.

    He also touched on the importance of Ireland’s emigrant heritage as it tranforms into a nation of immigrants:

    May I add that as we face the challenge of welcoming immigrants to Ireland we find ourselves reflecting on the story of Irish emigration as a touchstone for policy and initiatives. We now have a real responsibility to ensure that we provide a welcome that befits the dignity of those who migrate to Ireland. I know from talking to many Irish emigrants here in Birmingham that you support the granting of a warm welcome to those who seek a brighter future away from their homeland in Ireland.

    Bishop Hegarty presented the Centre with a financial contribution from the Bishops’ Supporting the Irish Abroad campaign. The theme of this year’s SIA campaign was keeping in touch with elderly relatives abroad.

    More information is available from the Catholic Communications Office.
    See Bishop Hegarty’s St Patrick’s Day sermon, which launched the 2006 SIA campaign.

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