Christmas fast raises whopping €51,700
The annual Christmas charity fast by clergymen Reverend Arthur Minion and Fr. Aodhán Marken raised the record amount of €51,700 this year, surpassing all previous collections.
'It was just phenomenal, we never thought we would raise that. If it had come anywhere near the €40,000, we would have been more than delighted', said Rev Minion.
He thanked the parishioners of Wexford for their enormous generosity and said it was very moving for himself and Fr. Marken, to have such trust placed in them by local people.
Various individuals and groups lent their support to this year's fast with one of the high points being a visit by the broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan and her husband Steven Carson on Sunday afternoon.
'She was absolutely bowled over by the generosity, the volume of giving and the warmth of the interaction that people had with us', said Rev Minion.
'The engagement with people is very important, it really keeps you going', he said.
The Ivy Sisters comprising Aileen O'Donohoe, Sharon Clancy and Jill Cox gave an impromptu performance of singing on the steps of the church.
During Ms O' Callaghan's visit, there was a performance by the Fife and Drum Band, led by Brother Bonaventure.
A retiring collection was made at a packed Candlelight Carol Service in Bride Street Church on the Sunday before Christmas and made €2,360 towards the fund.
Two Wexford women decided not to do the '12 pubs' and did the'12 houses' instead, collecting door to door in their locality and presenting the proceeds to the two clergymen.
Children also held collections and arrived at St. Iberius Church with plastic money bags to hand over.
'We would like to acknowledge all the parents who encourage their children to give. They give children money and tell them to put it in the box. That is marvellous to see and is great training for young children', said Rev Minion.
'It's quite a forceful feeling, that people trust us to such an extent with this amount of money. Their trust in us is moving. We feel the weight of that very strongly'.
'We know they would prefer that all the money contributed to this particular pot would benefit those on the ground', he said.
A commemorative Christmas tree outside St. Iberius Church raised €1200 for the Fast while a Comhaltas Ceoltóirí concert in the church collected €1,230.
The fast finished with an ecumenical carol service in St. Iberius Church on Christmas eve at which the soloists were Róisín Dempsey and the Mayor of Wexford, Cllr. George Lawlor.
Fr. Aquino Thomas from the Franciscan Friary also formally participated in the service.
'We would like to thank the people of Wexford for their tremendous support', said Rev Minion who had his last meal before the fast began with Fr. Aodhán in Wexford Presbytery.
THE repast was cooked by Rose Ann who also had a tasty mixed grill waiting for the pair when they finished on Christmas eve after four days without food.
'It was absolutely gorgeous', said Reverend Minion of the fast-breaking plate of food.
The presentation of cheques to the charities will be held during a short prayer service in St. Iberius Church on Wednesday, January 8 at 1 p.m.
This year's recipients of the fast collection are the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Wexford Women's Refuge, Ozanam House, Wexford Hospice Homecare, the Hope Centre, It's Good to Talk and Collective Sensory Group and all the groups will be prayed for during the service.