Cemetery in Lviv, Ukraine Cemetery in Lviv, Ukraine 

Ukraine: Church leaders call for peace in message for St Patrick's Day

The Archbishops of Armagh in Northern Ireland use their joint St Patrick’s Day message to call for an end to the relentless bombardment in Ukraine. They also say they are exploring the possibility of using unused Church properties to house Ukrainian refugees.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The Church in Ireland is looking at whether its properties could be used to shelter refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Church properties for refugees

Speaking on Wednesday, after delivering a St Patrick’s Day lecture in Armagh, Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Primate of All Ireland, said the idea was at an early stage but that he was “exploring the possibility” of using unused Church buildings and halls.

 “In all our parishes we have invited our parish pastoral councils and finance councils and the priests to consider if there are properties that we could make available for Ukrainian families,” the archbishop said.

“By far the numbers of properties owned by churches are those that are lived in by clergy and by others and that is by far and away the quickest the most direct route towards providing accommodation for people,” he added.

The archbishop said the church was “modelling what we’re hoping our parishioners will also do in their own homes.” He also said he was looking at the possibility of housing a refugee in his own residence.

The Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop John McDowell, who was speaking alongside his Catholic counterpart, also invited people across Ireland to welcome refugees into their homes, adding that he himself had pledged to accommodate a refugee through the UK government’s sponsorship scheme.

Appeal for an end to the bloodshed

In their joint annual message for St Patrick’s Day, both Church leaders appealed for an end to the "pointless massacre and pulverizing of property, bodies, and spirit" in Ukraine.

“It would be unconscionable for us to celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick this year without offering the solidarity of our prayers, charity, and welcome for the people of Ukraine. We pray for the Ukrainian people who already share this island with us, and for their families and friends who are trapped in the horror of destruction and bloodshed at home.”

17 March 2022, 14:33