“The task of proclaiming the word of God, entrusted by Jesus to the Church, has been interwoven with the history of Christian emigration from the very beginning. In the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, I recalled that “in the early centuries, Christianity spread because Christians, travelling to or settling in regions where Christ had not yet been proclaimed, bore courageous witness to their faith and founded the first communities there” Pope John Paul 11 Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 1996
This month is an ideal time to remember immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers living here. It’s the month when Irish people everywhere are proud to celebrate our patron saint Patrick, who was responsible for changing Ireland from a pagan to a Christian land. We might forget an important implication of this: Patrick was one of those early Christians who found himself in a land where Christ had not yet been widely proclaimed, and who courageously and tirelessly spread the Gospel throughout the country.
there is hardly a country anywhere in the world with which Ireland is not connected in some way, either through trade, travel, work etc. Patrick brought the riches of the Gospel to this country. In turn Irish Missionaries have brought the Good News to all corners of the world. In these times other nationalities have brought their culture here: their music, songs, their traditions, their food, their business acumen, their investments and these enrich us in many ways.
So let’s take care to continue the spirit of Patrick in welcome and openness to new and different cultures, experiences and varied expressions of faith. Let us support ll who come here in need of protection. Following the exhortation of the author of the Letter to the Hebrews let us: “remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it”. Hebrews 13:2