Immigrants enrich church, says Martin
THE rich ethnic diversity of immigrants has brought about religious renewal in Ireland, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told the sixth Festival of Peoples celebration on Saturday.
Addressing the annual event in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral, Dr Martin insisted this renewal was contrary to what was often said about immigrants being divisive for society.
"So many of those who have come to our shores are profoundly religious and see their faith as part of their identity and of their contribution to society," said the Archbishop of Dublin.
"And that we welcome," he told the gathering, which celebrated the multicultural communities of Dublin.
Many of those taking part wore traditional national dress and a specially commissioned choir provided music tuned for people from India, China, South America, Africa and Ireland.
Also celebrating in prayer the feast of Pentecost, Dr Martin said the Festival of Peoples was one indication of the change that was taking place in Irish society.
"We, the church in Dublin, celebrate with Catholic believers from many parts of the world who have come to make their home here and to enrich us with their heritage and their contribution to the economic, social and cultural fabric of Irish society," said Dr Martin.
Dr Martin recalled that on many occasions recently he had emphasised just how important these coming years would be for the future of the church.
"Ireland is changing and the religious culture of Ireland is changing," he said.
"Change can be good, but change can also foster uncertainty and insecurity in many, especially when our faith is weak and we are fearful."