By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 July, 2014
A sad paradox of life today is too much food and too little food, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said.
Launching the Divine Mercy Parish Food Appeal in Lucan, the leader of the Church in Dublin said it was “shameful” how much food is wasted and thrown away, when there are so many who do not have the necessary food to keep going.
“I have heard on many occasions from teachers that in our wealthy society children come to school so hungry that even their learning ability is compromised,” he stated.
Praising the Lucan parish food initiative, he said it was not just another initiative to help the hungry but something deeper.
“You wish become a Eucharistic community which expresses a different lifestyle. It is easy to give away a few tins of food and then continue to live a lifestyle of waste and extravagance.”
“The Divine Mercy Food Action is an initiative which aims to help all of us to reflect on how we live as disciples of Jesus who manifest in our lives the mercy of God. Mercy is not something which can be tinned and packaged and given to others.”
“We can only bring divine mercy to others when mercy affects and touches and changes both our lives and the way we interact in society.”
The Archbishop said the Christian community in Ireland today has “no ambitions of domination.”
He said its only ambition is that of witnessing to Jesus through service. “We have ourselves to learn what that means. We have to help our young people to grow up not seeking the empty comforts of consumerism as the be-all and the end-all of life.”
Dr Martin congratulated all those in the parish who had come together to make the food appeal a reality.
“I congratulate the St Vincent de Paul Society for their untiring work. I pray that this Food Action will change the hearts of all of us and will bring not just assistance to those who are disadvantaged, but will help them to regain a sense of their own dignity and self-worth,” he said.
Separately, in an interview after the National Charismatic Renewal Conference in the RDS on Saturday, Archbishop Martin called on the Government to provide more services to those who are drug addicted in order to address the escalating problem of homelessness in the capital.
He said he was “very struck by the very high presence in the centre of Dublin of people on the streets who have drug addictions or are injecting themselves.”
“I get the impression the services to help them are not available in the communities where they live and that they are arriving into the city centre where there are no services either” he criticised.
Dr Martin said that while the state had moved away from a policy of institutionalising people to supporting them in the community, it was important that the services are available in the community when people need them.
“We need the provision of services to people who have addictions and are homeless,” the Archbishop warned.
He also called on the Government to provide more affordable houses to tackle the problem of homelessness.
“It is a very serious problem and as Fr Peter McVerry has stressed, the pattern of homelessness is changing. It is not just the traditional person with mental illness or the troubled person but even young people are finding it is impossible to get homes.”
However, he noted that, “There are many empty houses around while people are on the streets.”
“The key is the provision of affordable housing for people and families for the future,” he suggested.