Miles for Mission!
World Missions Ireland organised a walk in Phoenix Park, called “Miles for Mission”, to fund-raise and to mark Mission Sunday. It took place on Oct 22nd and was attended by lay, religious and priests and bishops who were on mission themselves, or were passionate about the cause.
To our surprise, it was announced before the day that the funds would go to Sr Patricia Speight’s project- Love and Hope- in Nakuru Kenya. This was an opportune moment for us to support our own sisters through this walk, so Sisters Bridgette Cormack, Cecilia Sweeney and Felicia Matola took a deep breath packed some pain killers and committed to the 5 Km walk, despite our own back and feet pains!
We all met at the Papal Cross in Phoenix Park, erected in memory of St John Paul II’s visit to Ireland. Archbishop Kieran O’ Reilly of Cashel and Emly led this inaugural walk to mark the huge contribution of Irish missionaries abroad. The walk, was organised by ‘World Missions Ireland’. His Excellency, Mr Richard Opembe, the Kenyan Ambassador to Ireland joined us, all geared up in Kenya colours and ready to RUN, and run he did!
We admired the good turn-out of lay missionaries, many now working for Misean Cara- a donor agency for Missionary work. Many lay missionaries brought their partners and children to the event- a way of passing on the torch! But the most touching was Sr Louis Marie a wonderful missionary and a sister of St Joseph of Cluny who showed up with her walker to join the walk for a short way.
“Love and Hope Centre’ for people with HIV/Aids in Nakuru, Kenya was, co-founded by Sr. Patricia Speight, FMSA from Belfast, who cares for the most impoverished and destitute people in Nakuru. The centre is an expression of a desire for a home based care programme for those infected and affected by HIV and Aids. It provides awareness programmes, HIV and Aids education, counselling and support for orphans and vulnerable children as well as caring for displaced people. Sr Patricia says that funds like those provided by ‘World Missions Ireland’ are vital and help ease the “constant financial strain. We cannot rely solely on the goodwill of volunteers, it is unjust, and so outside help like that provided by World Missions Ireland is a lifeline”.
Sally McEllistrim, PR Manager for WMI, said earlier: “We are hoping that our event will be a lovely occasion for people to come together, enjoy the missionary camaraderie and help raise funds for a wonderful cause as well. This event will give us time perhaps to reflect on our own ‘missionary walk in life’ and the imprint we are making .It will be a fun occasion too as missionaries have a wealth of wonderful stories and so we will raise spirits as we raise funds!” Sally’s prediction came true!
Sr. Felicia Matola, FMSA