At home in Coalisland, Co. Tyrone the Trócaire box takes it’s place every year without fail on the mantelpiece to the right of the clock. The faces and the stories of the children from across the world that have adorned the Trócaire box over the years become familiar over the six weeks of Lent and so to sit and share pizza here in Ireland last week with Josiane Umumarashavu who appeared on the box in 2004 was, as clichéd as it sounds, a surreal experience. I had the privilege of accompanying her to visit a parish group in Co Carlow and show her some of the local sights. To listen to the impact that the support of the Irish public through Trócaire has had on her life she since she became known to us in Ireland as a smiling, skipping child was truly humbling. She has since finished university, graduating with a degree in accountancy and now works as a finance intern in Trócaire’s office in Kigali, Rwanda. To have even finished school is something that she says would not have been possible without the help of Trócaire. Josiane is in Ireland to show her thanks to the Irish public for their generous support and to promote the 2017 Lenten Campaign. Miriam and her six-year-old daughter Maria feature on this year’s Trócaire Box. They live on the north coast of Honduras, which is the area of the world most affected by climate disasters and their home is regularly flooded as a result of rising sea levels and increasingly severe storms. Trócaire is supporting this community and others when humanitarian disasters strike, providing the aid that people need to survive and rebuild. In my role as Church Support Officer, I am privileged to support a group of Armagh Diocesan Ambassadors who do Trojan work across the Archdiocese to support Trócaire in their own parish and local area through a range of activities, from selling Trócaire gifts during Advent to visiting schools and speaking at Mass during Lent. Their enthusiasm is contagious and on Shrove Tuesday, we welcomed Hervé Bund, Trócaire’s Country Director for Honduras (see picture) to hear more about the Lent community and the challenges they face. The people remain resilient however and are buoyed by the support the Irish public, including the Armagh Ambassadors, so generously give. For more information on the Armagh Ambassadors initiative, or if you would like to get involved, you can contact the Trócaire Belfast Office on 02890808030.
Church Support Officer