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Dundee parishes comes together for SCIAF

31 August 2023

Nick Mara helping at a SCIAF coffee morning

In Dundee, supporters from different parishes have come together to support SCIAF. In their own words, Jack Smith and Nick Marra detail how their cross-parish fundraising group have worked together over the years. 

The St. Joseph’s SCIAF/Justice & Peace Group has been active for over 40 years and five of the original members are still very active in the group.  

One of our members has travelled to the Philippines with SCIAF to see first-hand the results of our contributions towards helping a women’s cooperative there.  Another member has been an Ambassador for SCIAF for many years and has also visited Africa to witness SCIAF’s ongoing work on that continent.  Until recently, due to ill health, he visited schools to explain the vital work of SCIAF. 

We are also very proud to have taken part, with many other denominations and Justice & Peace groups, in the Make Poverty History march through Edinburgh.   All our meetings start with a scripture reading and prayer and we are guided by the writings of the Second Vatican Council and more recently by the words of Pope Francis. For nearly 30 years we have also held both an Advent and a Stations of the Cross services in St. Joseph’s.  

Working with other parishes in our Diocese    

Our first experience of inter-parish co-operation was when we were linked with St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Our parish had committed itself to raising over £1,000 for a particular project and, because this was put in the joint newsletter, parishioners from the cathedral were kind enough to contribute towards our total sum. It was also suggested that we might have a coffee morning to help us reach our target. 

Our coffee mornings are now an almost yearly event in the Cathedral Hall. We are no longer linked with the Cathedral but are now linked with two other parishes and they are very willing to take part in any fundraising events that are suggested. It is uplifting to find people from other parishes, who are also keen to take an active part in the mission of the church and are possibly having the same problems as our parish: falling numbers, ageing parishioners and old large church buildings. It also means that as more people are involved then more can be achieved. Different people have different interests and this can lead to a wider variety of products being handed in for sale. We have only twice worked with the help of the three other parishes and so far it has been a great success.  Hopefully in the years to come we will be able to work together on a more regular basis and involve even more parishes. 

Finally, our endeavours have been made possible because our parish priests have been willing to give their support to our work and hopefully this will continue.

Our many thanks go to Jack, Nick and all of the members of the various parishes who have tirelessly supported SCIAF over the decades. Thank you to all the clergy in Dunkeld Diocese for their support and to all of those who have so generously donated, prayed for and raised awareness of SCIAF’s work and of the issues our brothers and sisters across the world face.