Bishop Ray’s Statement for St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Day: Solidarity among all who live in Ireland.

Many maintain that St Patrick’s Day is celebrated with greater joy and emotion abroad than here in Ireland. Our history as emigrants extends back centuries. Think of the different waves of emigration to England and Scotland, to the United States and to Australia. While in so many situations, things worked out well, it was tremendously difficult for many and often they had to cope with great prejudice against them.

St Patrick’s Day 2023 confronts us with a different reality. Over 70,000 Ukrainians have come to us escaping a tragic war. Our country has gone the extra mile to welcome them. There are also the refugees and asylum seekers from many nations who have come among us over the past decade and more. Skilled workers have come from many nations, particularly from within the E.U.  All of these people represent many nations, many cultures and many faiths. In recent years many thousands have received Irish Citizenship at special ceremonies here in Killarney.

Jesus has said to us that in welcoming others we welcome Him, and “what you do to the least of my brethren you do to me”. Pope Francis has said that there is one human family, that all people on earth are ‘children of God the Father’. He entitled his Encyclical letter, ‘Sisters and Brothers all’, – ‘Fratelli Tutti’. This was the spirit of St Patrick as he returned to Ireland to proclaim the Gospel fifteen centuries ago.

As we hope that Irish people living abroad are welcomed and accepted, so we seek to welcome and accept all who have come to Ireland to live. As we hope that all Irish people abroad can live in safety, free from fear, so may all who have come from abroad live safely, free from fear among us.

As Irish people who have made their homes abroad have enriched their new communities, so those who have come among us enrich our communities. Many will participate in parades and other celebrations this weekend. This St Patrick’s Day let us all celebrate our common humanity. Extend a hand of welcome to all who have come to live in our country.

On Tuesday 21st March at 8.00pm as a diocese we are hosting an Online Lenten Talk – Who Is My Neighbour? The three speakers have first-hand experience of working with Ukrainians, Asylum seekers and migrants. Further information and the link to register are on the website,

+ Ray Browne

Diocese of Kerry

17th March 2023