A four-day Christmas charity fast by representatives of the Catholic and Protestant Churches in Wexford town has exceeded expectations by raising €43,000 in just four days despite the increased financial pressures in the country.
Fr Jim Fegan, administrator of Wexford cathedral, and Georgina Rothwell, joining him for the first time in the absence of Reverend Maria Janssen who recently became Dean of Waterford, fasted for four days up until Christmas Eve while collecting outside St Iberius Church on Main Street.
Last year the fast raised €40,000 under terrible weather conditions and it was uncertain if that could be matched this year.
However, the Wexford people once again showed a generosity of spirit with an increased haul despite the effects of an austerity budget.
”When you think how stretched people are, they have been very generous,” said Fr Fegan, who was particularly impressed with the generosity of young people who donated whatever they had in their pockets.
”The one thing coming across from people is that although things are bad, they are much worse for other people.
”We like to play our bit and the fast has become like an institution,” added Fr Fegan.
”The bulk of the money raised this year will go to the SVP because they are meeting the economic issues at the coalface, and the rest will be divided up between the Wexford Women’s Refuge and the FDYS (Ferns Diocesan Youth Service) drop-in centre in Clonard.”
The tradition of the combined fast dates back to 1998 when Fr Fegan joined Rev. Norman Ruddock for his annual Christmas fast as a sign of ecumenical solidarity in preparation for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
In the past 14 years, the fast has raised over €500,000 for various charities in the area.