Welcome to ArchBishop Tagle from Manila

Magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat, good evening to everyone, tráthnóna maith. Welcome to the 7pm Saturday mass. My name is Jonef Pondoc and, on behalf of Fr. Richard, Fr John, the Rathmines parish and the Filipino community, I would like to welcome Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle who will be celebrating our mass for this evening. Bishop Tagle is the current Archbishop of Manila, having been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI just this past December. As Archbishop he is the head of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

It is with great pleasure and honor that he will be breaking bread with us tonight. I would like to thank Fr Richard for bringing the Archbishop here. Opportunities like these are always welcome especially to us Filipinos who seldom get to go back home. I first came to Ireland in October of 2004. Life as an immigrant, as you all know is quite difficult. Like most Filipinos who first came here, we had to leave our children and families behind. It got very lonely at times. One of the things that helped us cope was attending mass and church activities in this parish. Fr. Richard and the community was very accepting and welcoming to all nationalities and immigrants alike. We are whole now, my children are all here. They have adjusted very well. They in some ways, have become more Irish than Filipino. I myself have adapted to life in Ireland. I now like fish and chips and I watch a lot of rugby and football. I also cheer “up the Dubs” every so often. I now say bin instead of trash and more often I say sorry instead of excuse me. I even felt terrible when Ireland lost to Spain in the Euros. Right Dave?

Just last Thursday, some four thousand immigrants all over Ireland took their oaths to become full-fledged Irish citizens. A number of those were Filipinos. One of my friends even posted her certificate on Facebook right after the ceremony. Some of the comments to her post, ranged from, “Congratulations!” to “Ang galing mo ate!” which basically means good job sister. A few did mention that she is now entitled to dual-citizenship. She could have a Filipino and Irish passport. I couldn’t help but think that even if we have not taken that oath, or if some have no intention of filing for Irish citizenhip, because we live in a community such as this one in Rathmines, we in effect have already become dual citizens of Ireland and the Philippines. And I would like to thank the Irish people for accepting us and for making it easy for us to live here.

I hope that Archbishop Tagle can take a small message to our compatriots back home. “Kung tatanungin po kayo ng mga kababayan natin – kamusta and mga Pilipino sa Ireland?” If our countrymen asks – how are the Filipinos in Ireland. “Paki sabi po sa kanila na kahit mahirap and buhay, masaya naman kami at nasa mabuting kalagayan.” Please tell them that even if life is hard, we are happy and we are in good spirits. Please tell them that we have adapted, we have assimilated, we are very much accepted and we continue to grow in the community, especially those of us in a well known parish in South Dublin called the The Church of Mary Immaculate, Refuge of Sinners- Rathmines.

Maraming Salamat po.

Thank you very much.

Go Raibh Maith Agat


                      By Josef Ponoc - Delivered at the 7pm Mass - Saturday 16th June 2012