Wexford clerics raise over €37,000 in charity fast

Annual appeal has raised over €500,000 since 1998

A four-day Christmas fast by a Catholic and Protestant cleric in Wexford has raised €37,000 for local charities, with more donations still coming in.

The administrator of Wexford cathedral, Fr Jim Fegan carried out his 15th Christmas fast this year, joined by Canon Arthur Minion on his second fast, outside St Iberius Church in Wexford town in the four days up until Christmas Eve.

In the face of heavy rain and lashing winds, the two clerics collected funds on the Main Street from about 9am to 5.30pm each day, while abstaining from food for four days in what has become an annual tradition in the town.

“It has become like an institution, with many people saying to me back in November it won’t be long now until the fast,” Fr Fegan told The Irish Catholic.

“What makes it worthwhile is the generosity of the people who stop to donate money despite the weather, the financial economy and their own struggles to pay their way,” he said.

“It is very heartening to see people coming up and putting in money from what little they have. It is wonderful to see young people putting in their pocket money and parents giving younger children money for the collection. People appreciate there are people worse off than them.”

The funds raised will be divided between the St Vincent de Paul, Ozanam House (a SVP homeless shelter for men), Wexford Women’s Refuge and Trócaire’s appeal for the Philippines.

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 advance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Since then the initiative has raised over €500,000 for various charities in the area.