In light of this holiday that commemorates the missionary who took the Christian faith to Ireland in the fifth century, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on the Irish who now reside in the United States. Thinking missiologically about our context, requires an understanding of our context. And in order to understand our context, we need to know about a people’s past and present.
Here is some information to get us started. Consider the following from the U. S. Census Bureau:
- There were 36.9 million U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2009. The population of Ireland is only 4.5 million. Irish was the second most frequently reported ancestry, behind German.
- There were 122,000 Irish-born U.S. residents in 2009. The median age of the residents from Ireland is 60 years old–much older than the U. S. residents as a whole (37 years old)
- The median income of the Irish-born U.S. residents is $56,158, compared to the U.S. whole at $50,221.
- In 2009, 24% of the residents in Massachusetts were of Irish ancestry. The nation as a whole is 12%.
- 70% of those with Irish ancestry own their own home, compared to the national homeowner rate of 66%.
- In 2009, 32% of U.S. residents with an Irish ancestry, who were 25 years old and older, had a bachelor’s degree or higher. The national rate for this same demographic is 28%.
- The poverty rate for those of Irish ancestry is 10%. The national rate is 14%.
On this day, please remember to pray for the Irish around the world. Pray for those who are Kingdom citizens and their witness. Pray for others to come to faith. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with those of Irish ancestry. Pray that the Irish would follow in the sacrificial way of Patrick, and get the gospel to the nations who have never heard.