By Katie Ascough - 28 December, 2019
According to The Irish Times, Wexford’s Church of Ireland rector Rev Arthur Minion and Catholic parish administrator Fr Aodhán Marken have braved a four-day charity fast outside St Iberius Church on Main Street in the heart of Wexford town.
The annual fast began twenty-eight years ago and was spearheaded by the late canon Norman Ruddock. This year, it started on Friday evening 20 December and lasted until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Allowed sustenance included one cup of soup per day at lunchtime and fluids such as water, tea or coffee with no milk or sugar and concoctions of hot water with lemon, cloves and a little honey to keep sugar levels high on the cold, wintry street.
Passersby consumed with last-minute Christmas shopping were encouraged to stop, chat and consider donating. Some individuals have been known to give several thousand euro at a time, with donations of several hundred being relatively common. Rev Minion remembers a certain gentleman giving a healthy contribution of €9,000. People can be very discreet about it, wadding up stacks of notes, he says. As reported by Wexford Today, it is estimated that the total amount the annual fast has raised over the years exceeds €750,000.
This year, the fast raised an incredible €51,000 which was distributed among several local charities: the Wexford Society of St Vincent de Paul, Wexford Women’s Refuge, Ozanam House hostel for homeless men, Wexford Hospice Homecare, the Hope Cancer Support Centre in Enniscorthy, It’s Good to Talk counselling service and the Collective Sensory Group.
At the closing of the fast on Christmas Eve an ecumenical carol service took place in St Iberius Church. Members of the recipient charities and civic representatives joined in leading the service with Mayor of Wexford, Cllr George Lawlor, singing “When A Child is Born” accompanied by Ruth Lawlor on piano.