15 Mar 2014

Remembering our migrants on St Patrick's Day

St Patrick's Day is the national Irish holiday when we commemorate firstly the memory of the man who brought the Christian Faith to the Emerald Isle in 432AD and also a celebration of what is good and great about us as a people and a country in culture and other fields of life despite the dark times we are going through right now.

It is also a day when we remember in a special way our emigrants who for many and varied reasons but generally economic ones have had to leave "the land of our birth". As a returned emigrant, St Patrick's Day gained in significance while I was away overseas, a day of sadness for being far from kith and kin, but also of joy and pride in being from a little isle on the verge of the mighty Atlantic which, has in its own small way, has contributed to the betterment of society and our world in general through art, music, song, literature, science, peacekeeping under the UN, our many NGO's and volunteers, and of course the contribution of our missionaries to the development in many parts of the world in education, health care and the promotion of human rights in the course of spreading the gospel and witnessing to their faith.

We remember all of our diaspora fondly and as we pause in prayer or raise a glass in honour of St Patrick, from our hearts, we wish them all a very Happy St Patrick's Day from the Emerald Isle!
For our loved ones far away.......

St. Colmcille, who suffered the pain and grief of exile, watch over the children of Ireland, scattered throughout the world. Obtain for them solace and courage, and keep them true to God in every trial and temptation. Amen

Prayers of an Irish Mother
(Here is a short prayer from the classic collection ‘Prayers of an Irish Mother’. Prayers for emigrants were an integral part of Irish prayer books during the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. Prayers of an Irish Mother is still in print.)

Some may know the bleakness of life,
its capacity to disappoint,
the waning of energy or health.
Yet they have a place in the soul which time cannot touch,
a wisdom and beauty from lives deeply inhabited.
May all of them know the warmth of their soul,
the natural shelter around their lives.
In dignity and freedom may they return home to themselves.

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