Chaplaincies build social solidarity

Chaplaincies build social solidarity

Dear Editor, Prof. Patricia Casey (IC 28/7/16) makes an important point about ghettoisation. Immigrant chaplaincies were set up after the publication of the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII in 1952. Their purpose was and still is to enable immigrants to integrate into the political, social, economic and cultural networks of life in their new countries.

However, integration is a slow process. Immigrants do not shed their cultural scales at border crossings, ports or airports as France is finding out. The role of immigrants’ centres and churches allocated to immigrant chaplaincies is simply to be enablers in the integration process. Immigrant churches are not extensions of the home church. They are part of the indigenous church. Liturgical celebrations in immigrant’s home languages and rites are soul-warming occasions where social solidarity is nurtured. These are important in the present anti-immigrant atmosphere in Europe and elsewhere.

Immigrants generate economies away by their labour and at home by their remittances. Presently, many immigrants are made to feel that immigration is a crime. However, their integration must always be the priority of immigrant chaplaincies.

Yours etc.,

Bobby Gilmore SSC,

Former Director of Irish Emigrant Chaplaincy in Britain,

Navan, Co. Meath.