By Cian Molloy - 07 August, 2020
A Walking Novena to Knock starts today from locations across Ireland, to support the work of the charity Mary’s Meals in helping provide nutrition and education in 18 of the world’s poorest countries.
The country that has most benefited from the Irish charity’s help is Malawi. There, Mary’s Meals helps provide a meal for 659 schoolchildren every day. Additionally, so far, Mary’s Meals has provided Malawian pupils with more than 26,000 backpacks, with essential educational and personal items
Because of COVID-19, this year’s Walking Novena, which starts today, has been scaled down with only about 50 or 60 participants making the full journey to Knock, arriving there on Saturday 15 August.
Instead, people are being asked to participate in local walks or to join with friends in making a ‘virtual’ journey by foot. Those who make the journey, virtually or for real, will travel more than 200 kilometres. Otherwise, people can complete just one leg of the journey – for example, in Armagh several Mary’s Meals supporters participated in ‘feeder walks’ to Armagh this week.
Additionally, because of social distancing, there will be no bucket collections along the route. Instead, you can make a donation here. Alternatively, you can make a donation by texting the word ‘Joy’ to 50300 – this will cost you €4, of which €3.60 will go to the charity.
“We think that joy is a perfect word as Mary’s Meals bring so much joy to the children, their families, their teachers, their communities,” said organiser Patricia Friel. “Mary’s Meals brings joy to the volunteers here in Ireland and in our programme countries. And joy to our donors who help us to reach the next hungry child while keeping our promise to all of the other children.”
Armagh organiser John McKenna said: “If you can’t join the walks, we would love more people to join the Mary’s Meals movement. You can contribute your time, your talent or your treasure!”