By Sarah Mac Donald - 13 September, 2015
Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway has urged the people of his diocese to respond with generosity and openness to the needs of distressed Syrians.
In a statement being read out at Masses today in parishes, the bishop tells the faithful, “We must stand ready to do what we can to help.”
He expresses the “fervent hope” that in the days ahead “a nationally coordinated, Government-led initiative will reach out to many thousands of refugees, inviting them to find safety among us here in Ireland”.
Dr Drennan pledges that the Church, both nationally and locally, will fully support this project in every way possible.
“We are eager and anxious to do so,” he underlines.
“In our prayers this weekend, and by our words and actions in the weeks ahead, let us not be found wanting. We are called to be the people of Christ. Let us now show all that is good, all that is true and all that is right about our baptismal call. By our fruits we shall be known!”
Referring to the humanitarian tragedy in the Middle East and in Europe that people in Ireland have watched over recent days with great distress, the Bishop of Galway states, “Once again the ugly consequences of war have caused multitudes of good people to take great risks as they seek refuge in foreign lands.”
He likens the plight of refugees to the Holy Family “who were refugees in Egypt from the murderous Herod, like our own legions of destitute Irish families aboard dreadful coffin ships of pestilence and famine, the parents of Syria rightly seek safety and security for their families”.
The scenes witnessed have been “tragic”, with multitudes on the move; hungry, thirsty, exhausted. And many, young and old, drowned, suffocated and starved. “Our eyes fill with tears. Our hearts break. We know that as Christians, as humans, we have no choice but to act.”
Bishop Drennan also commends Trócaire for its work on the ground throughout the Middle East saying it continues to make a very profound contribution to the lives of so many people.
Elsewhere in his statement, the Bishop of Galway praises the Irish Navy who he says has represented the people of Ireland “with compassion and professionalism in the Mediterranean”.
“We are proud of the brave men and women who are working so selflessly on board the vessels of our Irish Navy, and pray for each of them, and for their families ashore. Bring them safely home to their loved ones Lord, when their work is done. However much more is now required.”
Referring to the collection today being taken up in the parishes of Galway city for COPE Galway, Dr Drennan describes the charity as an “excellent organisation” which has, for many years, responded to the needs of those who are homeless in our community.
“There are many, many people in our diocese who are entirely deserving of that support. Basic humanity, common decency and the obligations of Christianity demand that food and shelter be made available for each of God’s children.”
“COPE Galway is to the fore in providing these necessities to the many who are in need in Galway. I urge you to continue to help as COPE Galway continues this very significant work,” he concludes.