I worked and lived as a Presentation Brother, in West Africa. I realise what a boost a recent address by our President Michael D. Higgins was to missionaries working with the poor and disadvantaged.
He acknowledged the work of Irish Missionaries during his recent visit to Peru, Colombia and Cuba. He praised and affirmed the endeavours of missionaries working in challenging situations. He told them, they present ‘values of Ireland at their very best’, through the ‘joy, practical help and hope’ that they bring to disadvantaged communities in Latin America.
The President expressed his delight that he was ‘very privileged’ and ‘so pleased’ that they were able to gather to meet him at short notice. ‘It so very important for you to know that as President of Ireland, it makes my heart lift to know there are people who are working to create hope where it doesn’t exist and where hope does, that spark is there, to make sure it is a bright flame that keeps people going.’ he commented.
‘You bring so much joy but practical help, and you bring hope, and you indicate what I think are the values of Ireland at their very best.’
President Higgins said he is ‘moved’ whenever he hears Pope Francis speaking out against ‘those models that are failing not just the poor but failing humanity’ and ‘to think that you are on the ground doing all these things and putting them into practice’.
Let’s continue to remember our Priests, Brothers, Sisters and Lay Missionaries everywhere at this time.