Irish archbishop: St. Patrick was an ‘undocumented migrant’


ARMAGH, Northern Ireland (CNS) — The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has urged Irish people and those of Irish descent celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to remember the plight of migrants.

Archbishop Eamon Martin — St. Patrick’s modern-day successor as archbishop of Armagh — used his message for the March 17 feast to recall that St. Patrick was first brought to Ireland as a slave by traffickers.

The archbishop said that “as Irish people, we cannot think of Patrick without acknowledging the enormous humanitarian and pastoral challenges facing growing numbers of people who find themselves displaced and without status in our world.”

“This is so shockingly exemplified by the refugee crisis here in Europe,” he said.

St. Patrick is depicted in a stained-glass window at St. Aloysius Church in Great Neck, N.Y. Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Northern Ireland, said that “as Irish people, we cannot think of St. Patrick without acknowledging the enormous humanitarian and pastoral challenges facing growing numbers of people who find themselves displaced and without status in our world.” (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

“Prompted by the situation of thousands of displaced people around the world, let us think about Patrick the ‘unlearned refugee’ (as he once described himself), the slave in exile, Patrick the undocumented migrant,” Archbishop Martin said.

Referring to, among others, the estimated 50,000 Irish people living illegally in the United States, the archbishop — who is also president of the Irish bishops’ conference — pointed out that “many of our compatriots remain undocumented in various countries around the world and, in some cases, feel vulnerable and treated with suspicion.”

The archbishop pointed out that “St. Patrick’s experience of isolation and captivity as a teenager transformed and shaped his whole life and his relationship with God. His lonely time as a slave on the hills of Ireland became a transforming experience, where he felt embraced by the fatherly love of God.

“I invite you to pray for refugees and for all displaced families at this time and, wherever you are, to encourage the hospitality and welcome for which we, Irish, are famous the world over,” the archbishop said.

Meanwhile, to mark the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, Catholic and Protestant cathedrals in Armagh were to be illuminated in green. Tradition holds that St. Patrick founded the ancient see of Armagh.

A vigil walk between the two illuminated cathedrals will begin at the Church of Ireland (Anglican) cathedral and move to the Catholic cathedral. Anglican Archbishop Richard Clarke will lead those gathered in prayer at St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, then guide the group via torchlight to St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, where they will be welcomed by Archbishop Martin.

Organizers said this symbolic expression of the unity of the churches reflects St. Patrick’s own journey of uniting the Irish people with Christianity.


#StPatricksDay on social media

Loreto sisters straight from Ireland and now serving in Phoenix offered an Irish blessing at Ss. Simon and Jude School’s Hooley in 2015.


  1. Does that bishop not know his own country’s history? Patrick was not illegally sneaking into Ireland against Irish laws. He was brought there, against his will, as a slave. When he did return, there was no legal structure that Patrick had to honor. Why on earth is this bishop bastardizing the memory of St. Patrick to suit his own progressive pipe dreams?

    • Its called sanctimonious sophistry. I thought only the USCCB practiced it, but evidently the disease has spread.

      Its interesting that the tribal chief who held St. Patrick as a slave did not deport him to his home country and for much the same reason a number of Americans refuse to even contemplate deporting our illegals: cheap labor. We don’t call ours slaves, but their precarious position places them only a tiny step above slavery. Many US Bishops appear to endorse this sad state of affairs.

  2. I really did LOL when I read this stupid headline. St. Patrick an “undocumented” “migrant”!

    Talk about a desperate attempt to crowbar a political cause into people’s minds and even play on their emotions and Catholic guilt.

    Most people weren’t convinced when bishops tried to spin Jesus as a refugee at Christmas time – trying to do the same with St. Patrick makes this bishop look like even more of a ridiculous joke.

    Pope Francis will probably make him a cardinal for the leftist stunt.

  3. It’s a wonderful time for the Church. The flock has been thoroughly catechized, masses are bursting at the seams, seminaries are overflowing with vocations, society has turned away from sin, and the clergy have restored their reputations.

    Finally our shepherds can focus their attention on their core competency: politics.

  4. He could say the same for the Vikings, Danes, Normans & Brits – they all left a legacy, but the only legacy the Muslim immigrants will leave is deadly Islam. Christianity in Ireland is almost dead due to their impotent/effeminate/homosexual & enabling Hierarchy & the enforcement of NWO EU rules which compels them (& the rest of us Europeans) to open our borders to evil & introduce civil laws permitting the most grave & heinous acts. The Irish Hierarchy has never uttered a word of caution, much less taken a firm stance, against any watering down of Irish Catholicism, culture & heritage. They are gravely mistaken if they think St.Patrick would be proud of their leadership.

  5. The ILLEGAL ALIEN activists get more stupid by the day in their attempts to justify open borders.

    If the Catholic Church really believes in open borders why don’t they allow anyone who wants to to receive the sacraments regardless of what faith they profess or don’t profess. BTW The Church seems headed in that direction already and when they get there I will leave the Church!


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