IRISH people have once again shown they have "hearts of gold" said Cardinal Sean Brady, as he revealed that the Catholic Church's appeal for Syria and the Philippines is expected to total a massive €4m.
"That is a fantastic response, reflecting a very generous people. We have tough times here but people in Ireland have reached out. They realise that there are people who have tougher times," he said.
He said their generosity showed that they want to give thanks for their life and their freedom.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Dr Brady said: "Remember, this isn't the only collection, there are other collections going on all the time. We have to acknowledge the generosity and goodness of people."
Dr Brady also appealed on behalf of those who will spend Christmas alone, urging people to make an effort to reach out to them and invite them into their homes.
He also praised the huge response to the Crosscare food appeal which saw 70 tonnes of non-perishable food donated in a matter of weeks.
However, in his letter, Dr Martin warned that the demand for help is growing. One parish prepared food parcels for 30 scheduled families but 85 turned up.