MAYO NEWS columnist Fr Kevin Hegarty believes that despite the country’s economic problems it is of paramount importance that we remember those who are worse off than us during the Lent period, and in particular those in the Developing World.
Speaking to The Mayo News about Lent, which begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, he said, “In Ireland and specifically here in the west of Ireland in historical terms we have had our fair share of starvation and oppression, especially during the Great Famine, so we have an especially acute awareness of the plight of starvation,” said Fr Hegarty, who believes that the establishment of Trócaire and the iconic Trócaire box was one of the most notable achievements of the Irish Catholic Church during the past 40 years.
Trócaire is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and was set up in 1973 by the Bishops of Ireland and the Irish Catholic Church to tackle the suffering of the world’s poorest people.
“Lent is a time for those who claim to be Christian to reflect on the death of Christ and also to respond in a meaningful way to the Third World. Every last cent can make a big difference in the Third World. It’s 40 days to reflect on our own lives and to help those who are worse off and give them some consolation.”
Fr Hegarty said that he is delighted Trócaire boxes still have pride of place in Mayo homes, and in homes around the country and he is confident that in 2012 tens of thousands of euro will be raised for the Developing World.
He added, “If one of those time capsules was to be opened in the future a Trócaire box would give a good representation of Irish culture and Irish life.”
Fr Hegarty concluded by referring to a popular reality TV show and he compared the spiritual alterations that many Christians seek to achieve during Lent to the physical exertions which are portrayed when participants try to lose weight. “We have so many slimming and weight programmes now like ‘Operation Transformation’ and the like, I often think of Lent as a spiritual operation transformation, or a spiritual boot-camp.”
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