Trócaire Pastoral Mission to Malawi – 2014 – Press Release from Fr. Fintan Monahan who was part of the group that travelled to Malawi in the past few weeks.
Trócaire – Lenten Project
Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday a day that traditionally marks the beginning of a time of displaying Trócaire boxes in homes and collecting for people less fortunate than ourselves in many Third World countries.
Work of Trócaire
For the past 41 years, Trócaire, an agency of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference in Ireland has been working hard to alleviate poverty in over 20 countries an employs a few hundred people to engage in this important pastoral work.
Trócaire Trip to Malawi – 2014
In early 2014 the annual Trócaire trip of diocesan reps went to Malawi, Africa where the Lenten Village is located this year. A series of excellent projects were on view and members of the delegation had the chance to meet the gracious, welcoming and dignified people of Malawi and also the wonderful people involved in the great work of Trócaire in this developing country.
Malawi – Place and People
Malawi is a beautiful place with outstanding scenery – mountains, hills and at that time, rainy season, it was lush with luxuriant flora and greenery all round. However, it also endures around nine months of a dry season and all the detrimental effects associated with that!
The first destination was to the national Trócaire office in Lilongwe to meet the national Trócaire director, Eithne Brennan, her staff and then onwards to Blantyre and Mua in the south.
Methodology, Vision of Trócaire
Much of the work and resources of Trócaire is spent in training and empowering people to deal with local difficulties that cause them problems and suffering.
Men to Men Project
It is estimated that as many as 1 in 7 people are suffering from the effects of AIDS in Malawi. A Men to Men project visited deals with issues of lifestyle, alcoholism, HIV/AIDS, behaviour within the home and huge strides towards change were reported.
Women to Women Project
A Women to Women project has a strong Village Saving and Trade scheme, helps women that are HIV positive and tries to empower local women to take a leadership role in the home and community.
Road Building Work
An on-going campaign to repair the road from Lirangwe, Chingale, Mathinga and make is passable for essential travel was visited. It has strong support from the local bishop, Trócaire and local partners, CADECOM and CCJD, CARITAS and others.
Water Campaign – the Theme for 2014
The theme of the Annual Lenten Campaign this year is Water. The availability of clean, healthy water is a major international difficulty at present. In Ireland we consume on average 150 litres of water per day. In some of the developing countries individuals are lucky to have access to 24 litres of dirty water. The Trócaire campaign this year is working to highlight the importance of the provision of clean, healthy water for everyone at home and abroad.
Visit to the Lenten Village in the Dedza Region
The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Lenten Village in the Dedza region, where we met the little girl on this years Trócaire literature, Enestina and her family. A bore-hole or water pump has been installed there by the assisting partners and it has made a huge difference to the quality of life and health of the locals. A donation given to me by a parishioner from Tuam will re-roof a section of the primary school and this was hugely appreciated.
A Joyful Liturgical Celebration
One of the most outstanding events of the trip was Sunday Masss in the Lenten Village. It was a lesson in how to celebrate a liturgy with vibrant joy and genuine celebration! Even though the Malawi folk have not much in material terms – they have a quality of faith, humanity, friendliness and happiness that left a deep impression on me and the other diocesan representatives.
Focus on Charities – Practice and Procedures
Policies and procedures for charities and charitable donations have come under intense scrutiny in recent months in Ireland. Trócaire employ very strict controls on spending and follow up to date rules of best practice. Fully audited accounts can be inspected on their website. They have a clear policy of allowing no more than 8% of income to go on administration and payment of salaries etc. All the remaining money goes directly to very worthwhile charitable causes.
Praise for the work of Trócaire
I cannot praise highly enough the work of the staff from Trócaire, and may they go from strength-to-strength as they enter their 41st year of helping people to help themselves and alleviate suffering in the developing world. I would have no hesitation in recommending to give what you can or put aside a little every week in your Trócaire box this Lent to help alleviate poverty in Malawi and other places that urgently need our help.
Tuam Diocesan Rep for Trócaire
Fr. Michael Molloy, PP, Moore is the diocesan Trócaire Rep for Tuam Archdiocese. All parish donations are sent to him for onward transmission every year. Tuam Archdiocese is one of the most generous per capita in the country. The people of Tuam have contributed a staggering sum of 7.9 million euro in the past twenty years. Incredible generosity in difficult economic times from a diocese of just 122,000 people.
Trócaire Television Mass
On Sunday, March 16th Trócaire are coordinating the RTÉ television Mass in the studio at the station at Montrose. Students and choirs of the Diocesan Youth Council under the direction of Diocesan Youth Director, Ms. Trish O’Brien will be in charge of the various elements of the music and liturgy.
Fr. Fintan Monahan
Diocesan Secretary, Tuam, Co. Galway.