It is the Gospel that illuminates candidates and inspires adhesion to faith: “Indeed Baptism is ‘the sacrament of faith’ in a particular way, since it is the sacramental entry into the life of faith” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1236). And faith is the surrender of oneself to the Lord Jesus, acknowledged as the “spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn 4: 14), “light of the world” (Jn 9: 5), “the resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25), as taught on the path, even today, of catechumens now about to receive Christian initiation. Educated by listening to Jesus, by His teaching and His works, the catechumens relive the experience of the Samaritan woman thirsty for living water, of the man blind from birth who opens his eyes to the light, of Lazarus coming out of the tomb. The Gospel carries within itself the strength to transform those who welcome it with faith, tearing them from the dominion of the wicked so that they may learn to serve the Lord with joy and newness of life.
Historically in Ireland, Catholics have desired independence for Ireland, while Protestants, who congregated in Northern Ireland, have wanted to maintain political ties to the United Kingdom.
This is still generally the case, though not without some significant exceptions on both sides. Still, the fact that Catholics may outnumber Protestants in the country by 2021 – 100 years after the country was founded – is remarkable.
According to the last census in 2011, Protestants outnumbered Catholics in Northern Ireland by just three percent. More recent numbers show a Catholic majority in every age group of the population, except for those over 60. Among school-aged children, Catholics outnumber Protestants by a wide margin – 51 percent to 37 percent.
It is about 60,000 faithful, half of whom are from the Philippines. The other communities are Indians, Sri Lankans and Eritreans. Other communities are also present but in smaller numbers: French-speaking Africans, Romanians and Poles.
Migrants are people who, for the most part, have fled difficult economic situations in their home country and have come for work in Israel. Asylum seekers have fled war or dictatorship and currently have no confidence in their future in Israel.
But despite these really difficult living conditions, like everyone else, they have a life of faith, they get married and some have children. And it is the mission of the Church to accompany them where they are and with what they are.