Ireland’s Catholic Bishops have called on the UK government “to prioritize the rights and dignity of all Ukrainians seeking refuge” there, welcoming “the lifting of visa requirements for Ukrainians seeking refuge in Ireland and in other EU countries”.
They encouraged everyone to welcome refugees “with sensitivity and compassion” and asked “all parish communities to think seriously about ways to welcome and integrate refugees into our homes.”
It turned out that “as tens of thousands of refugees arrive in Ireland in the near future, there is no doubt that the Gospel calls us to open our hearts and our homes,” they said.
The bishops have contacted the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for advice on “the best way for dioceses and parishes to commit to supporting the plan of the government to accommodate refugees fleeing Ukraine”.
Following their Spring Meeting in Maynooth on Wednesday evening, the Bishops announced that a special collection would be held at all Masses in Ireland for the Ukrainian people on the weekend of Sunday, March 27.
To mark St. Patrick’s Day next week, they asked everyone to “reach out to Ukrainians living in Ireland and around the world, sending them prayerful greetings and solidarity at this time of anguish”.
At the sign of peace during the masses of Saint Patrick, and for the rest of Lent, they asked the priests to call for peace in the world and particularly in Ukraine and, after a moment of silence, that they invite everyone “to offer a gesture or greeting of peace (without the handshake), holding in prayer all those caught up in this conflict”.
They called “all Christians, including Patriarch Cyril and the Russian Orthodox Church, to join in daily spiritual and practical efforts for a ceasefire, humanitarian action and the immediate deposition of weapons”.
They said that “in this trying time, we want to stand in prayerful and practical solidarity with the Ukrainian community here in Ireland and also recognize the many Russians among us who bear no responsibility for this tragic situation”.
What we have witnessed “during these days urges us once again to appeal to diplomacy and dialogue – to work for true human brotherhood – as the only way to resolve differences and conflicts”, they said. .
Welcoming the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions, they said that from Easter Sunday, April 17, attendance at Sunday Mass “will once again be seen as an essential expression of faith for all in our Church in Ireland As always, those in vulnerable health or feeling unwell will not be required to attend Mass, and should protect themselves and pray at home until they are better.
With civil commemorations of the pandemic planned in Ireland for the weekend of March 18-20 and a national day of remembrance and reflection on Sunday March 20, they invited “all members of our parish communities to unite in spirit and in prayerful reflection”.
They were encouraged to hear that the synodal journey was gaining momentum in the parishes of the island and announced that after Easter, “based on the synodal conversations, each diocese will prepare a 10-page summary”.
“A national synodal event” will be held next June 18 “to discern the themes that need to be transmitted from Ireland to the universal synodal way,” they said.
The Bishops also welcomed Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan as the new President of the National Council for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.