Welcoming the stranger, a characteristic of the early Church, thus remains a permanent feature of the Church of God. Welcoming the stranger is thus intrinsic to the nature of the Church itself and bears witness to its fidelity to the gospel.
-(Egra migrantes caritas Christi – The love of Christ towards migrants)
The Episcopal Conferences of Ireland and the United States work together in responding to the spiritual and pastoral care needs of Irish immigrants living in the United States. The Irish Apostolate USA and the Irish Immigration Pastoral Centers play a unique role in the life of Irish immigrants by their ability to respond to their spiritual and pastoral needs within a cultural framework.
Many of our centers are parishes without boundaries, with Marriage Preparation courses, counseling and preparation of marriage papers for marriages here, or in Ireland. In times of illness or death of an immigrant or a family member at home, we gather the community together for comfort and support as we celebrate Mass. Joyous family events are also celebrated. In many areas House Masses modeled on the Station Mass in Ireland take place.
The chaplains, religious workers, and staff respect and value the cultural heritage of the immigrants and plan liturgical and sacramental services that meet the needs and practices of the immigrants.
The three chaplains assigned to the IIPCs in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco give vital sacramental services to members of the Irish communities. In 2011, they celebrated 92 Baptisms, 47 Weddings, 30 Home Masses/Blessings, 64 Funerals, and made over 100 visits to short-term detainees and long-term prisoners in the United States. The Chaplains also visit the sick in hospitals and those home bound. They provide numerous hours of counseling to the immigrants on a variety of issues.
In addition, we have two affiliate chaplains working with our Outreach Networks in San Diego and Seattle.
- For information on the Catholic Church in Ireland, see: http://www.catholicireland.net/pages/index.php