By Sean Ryan - 05 August, 2017
The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly has called for more to be done for the African famine and refugee crisis.
Speaking in Ballingarry in Co. Tipperary, where he led this year’s Famine 1848 Memorial Walk, Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly said that our own experience of famine must not let us forget those who are suffering throughout the world.
He said “We walk with one thing in mind, to arrive at our destination. It is not far and quite safe – a pleasant day with pleasant company – but with the memory of those who travelled similar roads around Ireland during the famine years and whose graves are along the ‘long acre’.
“However, ours is not just a memory of the past. Ours is a journey of solidarity with those who at this moment are on the road – travelling seeking food and shelter, safety and security for family and friends, fleeing from war and strife.
“Our journey is not meant to be undertaken in sadness but rather in awareness of a world beyond our own. A world where many – especially the young and the elderly – suffer greatly. This thought is sobering and thought provoking as we travel the short distance to the Warhouse.”
Commenting on the international situation, where many people have been forced to flee their native country, he said that “At a time when a record number of people around the world are displaced by violence, the international community needs to stand behind international law to ensure safety for people who have been forced to flee as a result of famine or civil unrest.”
He added: “Pope Francis has taken a special interest in the area of migrants and refugees. He has established a new Congregation in Rome to oversee the situation: The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He himself is head of that department.”
The Archbishop said that “Today, there are more migrants, more refugees and more human migration than at any time in history (78 million refugees and 245 million migrants around the world with the likelihood that this number will continue to grow).”
He said that “Solidarity among peoples is key to our ability to build a world of justice and peace. I would like to finish with the words of Saint Pope John Paul II: Solidarity is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”