Rev William Steacy Addresses Meath & Kildare Diocesan Synod

Report to Diocesan Synod 7th October 2017
(Rev William Steacy, Bishops Appeal Representative, Meath & Kildare Diocese)

Bishop Pat, and members of Synod, I want to speak to you briefly about Bishop’s Appeal.

Bishops’ Appeal was originally set up to contribute to the relief of suffering and poverty overseas.
It is like an intermediary;
it receives money from parishes and dioceses and distributes it via charitable organisations to those in need.

It channels funds towards humanitarian emergencies like for example the current Rohingya Muslem refugee crises in Bangladesh.

Our Diocese has been faithful in contributing to various appeals over recent years,
we have given to:
– the earthquake disaster in Nepal,
– the East African Famine Crises and
– the Syrian Refugee Crises.

Bishops’ Appeal also supports niche projects in areas such as
education, health and rural development.
A few years ago we as a diocese supported the
the Christian Aid Agogo Dairy appeal in Haiti.

But I suppose the one project that has been most prominent in recent years has been the Good for the Sole Project which started in February 2015.

I have been part of the working group which planned and steered this project.
It has been an amazing journey. Right from the start this project took off and caught the imagination of many people.

The idea of giving €5 for two pairs of protective sandals to help a Leprosy sufferer in India was easy for people to grasp.
Many Parishes, schools and individuals got involved and €22,630 was raised by the end of 2015.
The target of 10,000 sandals (or €25,000) was reached by Easter 2016 with a few thousand Euro to spare.
This was a wonderful achievement and we celebrated it in Trim Cathedral in April 2016.

We then moved on to Phase 2 where we were asking people to sponsor corrective surgeries at €50 per operation.

Dr Jerry Joshua, who was working with the leprosy mission in India came over in June last year to launch Phase 2 in Kildare Cathedral. He spoke about the process of taking fat tissue from one part of the body and relocating it to where it was needed around the foot.

By the end of last year €30,720 was raised – this was the equivalent of sponsoring 614 surgeries.
After Easter this year, a team of 12 people from the diocese went out to India to see where the money was being used (no doubt some of you have already heard reports of their experiences).
By the end of June, the Diocese had handed over an extra €10,661 to Bishops’ Appeal giving a grand total of the sponsorship of 827 operations.

We have been told that the Leprosy Mission has now enough funding to carry out foot surgeries in their hospitals in India for the next 2 ½ years that’s up to 2020. So we are delighted.


The Good for the Sole project has been a great success so we say a big thank you to all those parishes, schools and individuals that got involved.
We would especially want to thank Rhonda Willoughby for all the work she did in producing the Food for the Sole Cook books, which obviously raised a lot of money for the project.

I estimate that from February 2015 to June 2017 the diocese has raised over €66,000 for the Good for the Sole project.

Why was this project so successful –
why did people respond to it so enthusiastically and give so generously?

I came across a number of points in the Church of Ireland Generous Giving Programme literature recently, and it struck a cord with me. It said and I quote:

People give generously when they understand that giving is rooted in discipleship and worship.
They give generously when they clearly know what their money is being used for.
And they give generously when they can see that it is making a difference.

So thank you on behalf of Bishops’ Appeal for all your generosity.
Thank you

William Steacy