Ireland Stand Up visits our Vatican Embassy, Saint Patrick's Day 2012

A group of Ireland Stand Up supporters travelled to Rome for St. Patrick's Day. The 16 attended mass in St. Isidore's where Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte opened the mass by ringing the Congress Bell. Mary McAleese former president and the Irish Ambassador to Italy Patrick Hennessy were also in attendance. After the mass there was a reception and Mary Fitzgibbon spoke briefly to the Minister to convey the sentiments of those who support the immediate restoration of our Villa Spada our Irish Embassy to the Holy See. She also spoke to the Irish Ambassador to Italy Mr. Patrick Hennessy. After this the group went to Villa Spada on Gianicolo Hill and released a press statement to several journalists. The group were filmed by Rome Reports TV news agency on Friday at the Vatican. The group also visited the burial place of the O'Neills and the O'Donnell's in San Pietro di Montorio beside Villa Spada. John Kelly a Kerryman now residing in Cork ran the Rome marathon in support of Ireland Stand Up on 18th March.

Rome Reports TV News Agency, Ireland Stand Up in Rome
Group calls on Irish Government to re-open Holy See Embassy.
La Stampa, Vatican Insider article by Gerry O'Connell.

Press Release 17th March 2012 National Lay Initiative
We are here today to commemorate the feast of St. Patrick. Here at the entrance to Villa Spada, on Gianicolo Hill, which for 65 years housed Ireland’s resident ambassadors to the Holy See, Ireland Stand Up extends St. Patrick’s Day blessings to all the Irish across the globe.
In order to understand St Patrick we need to understand that he was a child taken from his family, ripped from his birthplace, captured, taken and sold as a slave for 'economic benefit'. He spent many years in an inhospitable land, cold, unwanted, lonely where his only refuge was his faith. When he finally managed to escape little did he think that he would return to this land of heathens to teach us about his faith? He resisted but eventually responded to the 'call of the people of Ireland'. He was said to be cantankerous and didn't beat around the bush when preaching the gospel. And so we have this image of a saint who fought for us to give us his faith. We were his enemy, the people who had taken years of happiness from him but never counted the cost. Now we are in times when some in our government use the day of St. Patrick not to preach the gospel but to preach the economic values of trading with us. Human rights can be disregarded for the economic good of the country. We have been sold out by poor governance and now our souls are being sold too. So as our wares are being touted around the world perhaps we should pause for a moment.

Are we using St Patrick once again? Are we making a mockery of his sacrifices? Are we making a mockery of the years he spent hungry, cold, his rights violated? At what cost is this gospel of economics being preached? Our embassy was taken from us as it yielded 'no economic return'. What will be next? We respectfully call on this government to stop using our Catholic faith as a bargaining tool when it suits. We call on them to respect our religious beliefs and our rights to our traditions and practices. We call for our embassy to be re-opened and for the return of our resident ambassador. We call for respectful dialogue between church and state and for the government to respect the wishes of the laity. We are all concerned about the recovery of our country, from both an economic and personal perspective, so that we can regain a sense of hope and belief in our future. We invite people from all faiths to hold a Vigil of Hope on the 17th of April and to pray for peace and the future of our country, Ireland. Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!