|2005 Statement Bishop Smith 18/9/05|
Statement of Bishop Michael Smith
on reaching out to the poor and needy in the world
Last week, Bishop Smith and the Irish Bishops launched a new Pastoral Letter called "Towards the Global Common Good", dealing with international aid and development.Coinciding with this weekâs United Nations discussions on world poverty, the Bishops are urging the government and the general public to keep the needs of the poor at the top of our agenda.
Reaching out to the poor is a priority in this Diocese of Meath. Over the past year, there were two major international aid appeals here and this statement gives a brief update on both.
The Tsunami Appeal raised over â¬ 1.1 million. This is how your contribution has been used -
In Indonesia, your money has re-built schools, provided school books and materials, as well as funding tutors from other parts of the country and abroad.
In Sri Lanka, your money provided fresh water, food, shelter and medication. Now we hope to invest further in the educational needs of young people in this region.
A significant amount of funding went to the region of Surat Thani in Southern Thailand. Once provision was made for the burial of the dead and the immediate care of the afflicted, the work here now continues, providing new and improved housing, the building of orphanages for children who lost both parents.
In India, your money was sent to local religious responsible for a number of fishing villages, to re-build and purchase new boats and materials. So too in Somalia, where civil unrest in Djibouti has made international relief work difficult, we have been able to work with the local Bishop to bring much needed assistance.
Despite a fear that the response to the Tsunami appeal would take away from other worthy causes, Bishop Smith points out that, on the contrary, this yearâs TrÃ³caire Lenten Collection in fact increased, with an astonishing â¬ 605,000 having been raised from the parishes in this Diocese.
The message from the Bishop -
sincerest thanks for your generosity and please continue to support those less fortunate than ourselves".
As the Bishops will highlight in the Pastoral Letter -
to protect our wealth is a natural instinct; but to encounter Christ is to be liberated from possessiveness and free to share. Each time we say the Our Father we commit ourselves to work for the coming of the Kingdom of peace and love, and we affirm the right of all to their âdaily breadâ".
Copies of the Bishopsâ Letter can be obtained through your local parish and online at www.catholiccommunications.ie