Welcome to our wonderful new website and welcome to the first of what I hope will be a weekly blog from me with thoughts, reflections, stories (maybe even the occasional song!).
The Irish Chaplaincy began 60 years ago when the Irish bishops sent 9 priests to England in response to the many thousands of Irish people who were coming in the post-war years to find work. My own parents were among them. My Dad arrived from Galway in 1949 and my Mum came over from Newry in 1957, the very year that the Chaplaincy was founded. It seemed very fitting, then, that I found myself this year working at the Chaplaincy: a returning to my roots, and a sense of something coming full circle.
For 28 years I had been part of L’Arche, a great organization made up of people with and without learning disabilities, where each person is considered to be of unique and sacred value. Relationships are very much at the heart of L’Arche, with the belief that everyone has something to give and something to receive; and that all of our encounters have the power to touch, to transform and to heal.
I have experienced a similar spirit at the Irish Chaplaincy.
We give thanks for 60 years of the Irish Chaplaincy
and for all who have been part of the story so far,
we look ahead with hope…
The Chaplaincy continues, 60 years on, to support Irish people in Britain, including prisoners, Travellers, isolated Seniors, and really anyone who comes our way and is in need of a friendly face or a sympathetic and culturally-sensitive ear at the end of a phone. As at L’Arche, we walk alongside people, especially those most on the margins, seeking to be a little sign of a more just and compassionate society; and knowing that a simple act of friendliness or kindness can touch hearts and ultimately can change the world. (CEO, Eddie Gilmore)
I’d like to express my thanks to Rashmi Ray who has worked with us in a friendly, enthusiastic, collaborative and creative way to develop this website. And I’m grateful for all who work or volunteer for the Chaplaincy and for those who support our work.