On Friday 6th December 2013 Volunteers and supporters in St Mary’s Catholic Parish, Poole celebrated 30 years of Hunger Lunches which have raised almost £80,000 for CAFOD!
Maria, a new volunteer and the first to arrive, was soon in the kitchen helping the regulars prepare the frugal lunches of a roll, cheese and butter.
Mary wiped down the tables…. Another Mary put out the cheese…..And Bill did the rolls…
In what seemed no time at all, the hall was ready and helpers made their way to join fellow parishioners and Chris Bain, the Director of CAFOD, to celebrate 12 noon Mass.
Fr Mark Skelton was sorry that he was unable to join us but he was at a funeral in another part of the diocese. However, he left us in the capable hands of Monsignor Ronald Hishon who urged us to:
“Put your hands up to Jesus and say ‘I believe’ so he may touch you just as he touched the blind man in the Gospel reading today.”
Fr Ronald spoke poignantly about the shining example of Nelson Mandela R.I.P. whose death, announced the previous evening, was in the hearts and minds of everyone throughout the celebrations.
After Mass more than fifty parishioners, volunteers and helpers made their way to the church hall and enjoyed the frugal lunch which included a dessert to mark the 30th anniversary; much to everyone’s approval!
And everyone sat back and enjoyed a presentation from Chris Bain which beautifully demonstrated how “CAFOD rolls up its sleeves and gets stuck into the messiness of the world” which of course is just one of the inspiring messages of Pope Francis.
The presentation concluded with video footage of MP Jim Murphy, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, in the Philippines with CAFOD
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzVbk0xwo7w bringing home the reality of the devastation there.
Chris then thanked the parish, and particularly the founders of the Hunger Lunches: Eva Tucker and Kathleen Hypher whose combined effort he said “had transformed the lives of many of the poorest people around the world through the work of CAFOD and its partners”. Chris said “CAFOD is a women’s organization” and made the beautiful analogy between the work of Eva and Kathleen and the founding women who volunteered and organised the first Family Fast Day on Friday, March 11, 1960 – which was the birth of CAFOD.
The celebrations were completed with a presentation of a framed copy of the icon of the Last Supper which was accepted by Rev Deacon Declan McConville on behalf of Fr Mark.
The icon was commissioned by CAFOD to mark their 50th Anniversary and Chris personally takes a copy to each partner he visits around the world. It is wonderful to think that St Mary’s Parish, Poole is now connected even more closely with CAFOD’s partners around the world in this way.
Information about the Icon can be found at http://www.cafod.org.uk/Pray/On-your-own/Icon-reflection
A big thank you to everyone at St Mary’s for giving of yourselves so generously and for the wonderful hospitality you offer every week; the significance of which is summed up by Eva:
“What makes the lunches an important weekly event – besides knowing that we are making a positive contribution to the lives of others across the world – is the great opportunity for people to meet up regularly, chat and share a frugal lunch with friends. It is a blessing to be able to build stronger communities both overseas and here at home.”
To find out more about St Mary’s Parish go to www.stmaryspoole.org.uk
If you feel inspired to get involved with CAFOD’s work please contact
Simon Giarchi (Diocesan Manager) or Conchita Dunn (Diocesan Officer) CAFOD Plymouth, St.Boniface House, Ashburton, Newton Abbot, TQ13 7JL
Telephone: 01364 645440 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org