By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 January, 2015
In his New Year’s message, the Archbishop of Armagh said Irish people North and South need to ask themselves questions and ask questions of their public representatives about where trafficking is happening in this country?
“What are we doing to make Ireland the land of one thousand welcomes and a cold place for human traffickers?” he asked.
Acknowledging that trafficking is clearly a problem to be addressed both nationally and internationally, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland said it begins with personal and public awareness of what trafficking is, and how it can be prevented.
Elsewhere in his message, the Primate noted that in his message for New Year’s Day, which also marks World Day of Peace, Pope Francis highlights the cruel facts of modern day slavery: that millions of children, women and men throughout the world are deprived of their freedom and forced to live in conditions akin to slavery.
He said the Pope also speaks in his message with bluntness about the greed and corruption which preys upon the dignity of our fellow human beings who are ‘trafficked’ from place to place and mistreated as objects for exploitation and prostitution.
Many of them, because of extreme poverty and helplessness, get caught up into a vicious circle, accepting roles and situations that are beneath their human dignity.
And sadly, Archbishop Martin underlines, because of selfishness and global indifference, we can easily remain blind and ignorant of their plight – perhaps even tacitly complicit.
The turn of the year brings with it a mixture of sadness and hope, memories and dreams, regrets and resolutions, he said.
“Some people won’t be sorry to leave 2014 behind; others will face the New Year with uncertainty in terms of family, health, relationships and financial pressures. They ask: will 2015 be a good year?”
He said that to begin the New Year blessed by the presence of God is to hold on to hope, courage and trust even when we might be inclined to fret, fear or be anxious about the future.
“Our resolutions to change or do better are born out of the conviction that a fresh start is always possible and that conversion is achievable and good for us. Faith in God’s presence enables us to say: 2015 will be a better year.”
“During the Christmas season many of us have had the opportunity to be with family, to spend time in worship and to reach out in charity to those less fortunate than ourselves.”
“Might these Christmas instincts inspire our resolutions for the year ahead – to spend more time with family and friends; to build our friendship with God; to reach out to the marginalised?”
He also cited the Blessing of Aaron from the Book of Numbers which is read at Masses on New Year’s Day saying that though it is “two and a half thousand years old, its verses invoke a timeless message which is perfect for today”.
‘May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace (Numbers 6:22-27).’