independent

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Clergy begin their annual four-day fast for charity

ALL PROCEEDS THIS YEAR TO ST. VINCENT DE PAUL

CONOR CULLEN

THIS year's four-day fast on Wexford's Main Street will seek to raise much needed funds for the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

The popular annual fundraiser, which has raised in excess of €40,000 each year in recent times, is usually in aid of a number of worthy local causes.

However, Fr Jim Fegan, Wexford's parish Administrator, who undertakes the four-day fast with Rev Maria Jansson, said this year every cent they raise will be for the Wexford branch of the St Vincent de Paul.

Requests for assistance from the local branch have more than doubled in the past year as families are becoming increasingly worse off due to the recession and, particularly, rising unemployment.

Fr Fegan and Rev Jansson started their four-day fast in the snow yesterday morning (Tuesday) outside St Iberius Church on Wexford's Main Street.

They are stationed outside the church from around 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, although their fast lasts the full four days.

Fr Fegan said he hopes that people from around Co Wexford, many in town carrying out their Christmas shopping, will prove to be as generous as ever.

The Wexford priest said that due to the country's economic woes the demands on the local St Vincent de Paul branch are unprecedented.

' The St Vincent de Paul is now seeing people they never thought they'd see,' said Fr Fegan.

He acknowledged that the vast majority of people are now struggling to some extent, but that many can still see that are people worse off than them and are willing to give what they can.

' The people of Wexford have always been very generous to the cause I would appeal to their generosity again this year,' said Fr Fegan.

' These are tight times for everyone, but there are people worse off than we are and whatever little we can give will help make their Christmas a happier one,' he said.

Fr Fegan said that people had asked if he and Rev Jansson would consider postponing their four-day fast until January or February to avoid any clash with the cold-snap, but he said they didn't consider this.

He said the fast would not have the same impact if it wasn't held just prior to Christmas 'in that capsule of time when people are focused on each other and each other's needs'.

Fr Fegan accepted it's going to be a very cold few days, but said they will be well able for it.

'It looks like it might not go above zero during some of the days alright,' said Fr Fegan. 'When you are wrapped up and walking the Main Street it's not too bad, but when you are standing in the same spot it's a different story.'

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