IAUSA Irish Apostolate

Update on the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform  

Issue: # 121
January 2016

In This Issue
Mercy and Migration
Christmas in the Shadows
Irish Americans Must Remember their own Past in the Syrian Refugee Crisis
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Mercy and Migration
by Fr. Alan Hilliard
(former Director of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants)
The World Day for Migrants and Refugees
is celebrated every year in the month of January. The theme of the year is set out in a letter that is issued by the Holy Father prior to the celebration. This year the theme is in keeping with the Jubilee of Mercy.

Dublin is full of contradictions and dichotomies. In the midst of all the energy in the business and commercial centres you find people hanging on to life by their fingertips.

One day when I was walking by the college where I am based I saw this first hand. It was the first week of term and all the students were pre-occupied with talk of fees, time-tables, courses, pubs, bikes, accommodation and other such things. Outside at the railings I came across a lady who was worn down by the years. She had a hand on an iron fence to hold her up as the other hand clutched a brown bottle from which she drank. She was mightily oblivious to the worries that consumed the students as she blasted out verse after verse of a song I remembered from my teenage years. 'By the Rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion'.

For many years this song was a happy go lucky 'boppy' piece, which was very popular in my disco days. Following years of study and reflection this line from psalm 137 has a deeper resonance within me. For the lady who sang, the song was most likely taking her to a happy moment when she too sat or danced with people she loved and enjoyed; not unlike the people of God in exile in Babylon. This song is a psalm from the Bible and it is a song about exile.

To read the entire article, go to The Sacred Heart Messenger.

Christmas in the Shadows
by Ray O'Hanlon
Irish Echo
As Taoiseach Enda Kenny dedicated his annual Christmas message to urging Irish emigrants to come home, the undocumented Irish in America can only shrug their shoulders and hunker down for another Christmas in the shadows.

2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary year since the signing of the 1965 immigration reform act, a game changer which turned into a legislative roadblock that all but put an end to significant legal Irish immigration to America.

At the end of the half century as many as 50,000 Irish are living and working in America but without the benefit of legal status.

Returning to Ireland at Christmas, or indeed any time of the year, is a pipedream as a departure automatically triggers a ten year bar against returning.

To read the entire article, see the Irish Echo.

 Irish Americans Must Remember their own Past in the Syrian Refugee Crisis

During the 1800s, over a million fled from Ireland to the United States to find a better life.

Many of the Irish who arrived were under-skilled for the American workforce and began to populate port cities working labor intensive jobs. They faced stereotypes and persecution simply because of who they were: different.

They were depicted as apes, drunks and baboons, their religion was mocked. Outlandish rumors such as they were sent to prepare the way for the pope to take over America circulated.. They were attacked by mobs known as the "Know-Nothings", the Ku Klux Klan of the era.

They came to the country and were called outcasts. Yet, in the following decades and centuries they would go on to fill the highest ranks in business, politics, arts, the army and more. They gave back, built, and furthered a society that gave them a chance at life and we are all the better for it.

Today another group faces a similar crisis and Irish Americans must ensure that America lives up to our history as an immigrant nation.

To read the entire article, go to Irish Central.

John McCarthy is Vice-President of Irish American Democrats and a columnist with National Catholic Reporter.

new-year-header5.jpg Happy New Year 
from the Board of the
Irish Apostolate USA
Rev. Brendan McBride, President
Rev. Dan Finn, Treasurer
Rev. John McCarthy, Secretary
Mr. Brian Hanley
Ms. Celine Kennelly
Rev. John Madigan (sabbatical)

Ms. Geri Garvey, Administrator

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Justice for Immigrants Campaign continues to build its grassroots support for comprehensive immigration reform.   

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The Irish Apostolate USA is the umbrella organization for the Irish Immigration Pastoral and Outreach Centers in the United States, under the direction of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants.  

The IAUSA receives financial support from the IECE and also from the DFA Emigrant Support Programme for some of its' activities and outreach.

Please visit our website for more information: 
Geri Garvey, Administrator
Irish Apostolate USA
Phone: 240-535-9205    Email: administrator@usairish.org