By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Ireland’s Primate is in Iraq visiting displaced families and encouraging the people of Ireland to contribute to relief efforts in Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan through the Trócaire Christmas Appeal.
Trócaire Christmas Appeal 2018
The Bishops of Ireland announced in a statement at the end of their Winter Meeting in early December that the Trócaire Christmas Appeal would benefit people in three conflict areas: Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan. Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland visited Iraq this week and met directly with families receiving humanitarian aid from Trócaire.
Humbling and heartening
“It is humbling”, the Archbishop said, “to spend time with these families, and heartening to learn how the generosity of people in Ireland is helping them to survive.” Through that generosity, the Irish people relieve the suffering of other people trapped in areas where conflict and war are a tragic reality. It “allows them to dream of brighter days ahead”, the Archbishop said.
Archbishop Martin, along with Trócaire’s chief executive, Caoimhe de Barra, visited the decimated town of Batnaya situated on the Plains of Nineveh in Northern Iraq. There he made an appeal to the Irish people to contribute to the Trócaire Christmas Appeal. “Even small donations can make a big difference to people whose lives have been shattered by conflict”, he said.
The other two conflict zones where people receive aid through the Trócaire Appeal are Yemen and South Sudan. “We are deeply concerned at the worsening crisis in Yemen, where eight million people are at risk of famine”, the Bishops’ Winter Meeting statement said. Trócaire provides medicine, clean water and aid to thousands in Yemen. The Bishops call it a “lifeline”.
The Irish Bishops chose South Sudan because it is a conflict that “has not received adequate attention from the world’s media”. The majority of the refugees from South Sudan are women and children. Trócaire supports “tens of thousands of people each month with food, water and other vital needs”, according to the Bishops’ statement.