MARY’S MEALS FOUNDER MAGNUS MACFARLANE-BARROW WRITES ABOUT HIS TRIP TO THE US
Patty, our US co-ordinator, picked me up at the airport and we headed straight for a Jazz Club in Manhattan. On the way there she showed me a letter she had just received from an inmate in a prison in Kansas. ‘Although we are in prison we have not lost our humanity’ read the letter and he explained how he had organised a collection from fellow prisoners. A cheque for over 1,000 US dollars was enclosed.
I was really moved. Just a couple of days earlier I had been speaking to an old friend, a chaplain at a prison in England, where inmates are also collecting for Mary’s Meals. It seems we are right when we say EVERY person can choose to do something for Mary’s Meals.
It was still early when we arrived at Swing 46 and the club was empty, apart from Judith, the owner, who we had come to meet. She greeted us warmly and we chatted at the bar. She plans to do monthly events for Mary’s Meals here and raise funds for a new kitchen. She thinks it is high time Mary’s Meals became better known in New York and she aims to do something about it! I left feeling very confident she will do just that, and many people will have a good time in the process.
From there we drove over to Harrington Park in New Jersey arriving just in time for Mass at a little wooden church called Our Lady of Victories. It was Sunday, and the feast of the Divine Mercy, and the church was packed. My old friend Brother Francis was there. He recently painted a remarkable 8ft high version of the famous Divine Mercy image and this picture was displayed at the front of the church.
The priest, Father Conrad, invited me to talk for a couple of minutes at the end of Mass about Mary’s Meals and as they left the church, the people responded in a beautiful way, asking questions about how they could help and stuffing a little basket full of donations. I slept that night at the presbytery and early next morning, with the enormous picture strapped to the roof of his car, Brother Francis drove me to the airport.
The transportation of this unusual cargo reminded us of the times, 20 years ago, when together we would drive a battered small truck around Scotland collecting all kinds of donations in order to transport them to the refugees in Bosnia.