Fr David Cullen, Missionary of Africa (White Father) expresses his heartfelt appreciation for the donations he has received from the monthly Soup Lunch at St Margarets, for his work in Zambia. He writes:
Dear Maz and Bernard, Maggie and Bernard,
Before you set out for today’s soup lunch I wanted to say a big thank you for last month’s donation of £257, a great contribution.
I’m just back from Lusaka where we had our annual 8-day retreat, followed by a two-day meeting of the White Fathers working in Zambia plus a group of 8 young men called stagiaries, those who are training to be WFs but have to spend two years in one of our parishes to be sure that this is the life they believe they are called to and also to give us a chance to see if we judge them to be really suitable future missionaries.
As always when I come to Lusaka I’m visited by (too) many of my former clients during the 12 years I was working here in a parish. Before the retreat I had a good number, all with big financial problems, school fees, repair of houses, payment of back rent, help to start a mini-business of making fritters or selling a dried fish very popular here called kapenta. I also had to send an emergency help to one of the families I help in Chipata headed by a widow named Mainala because her brother had been arrested for non-payment of a debt. He has quite a good business, making and selling scotch carts, but often he has to wait for debts to be paid to him. Anyhow the lady to whom he owed about £400 would not wait for her debt to be paid and so he was locked up in the police cells even though the police themselves told her that she was less likely to get her money back if he had to serve a prison sentence than if she gave him a bit more time. Anyhow by my sending about £65 as a loan the woman agreed that he be released.
Now back here I’ve had a phone call from my number one helper, Patricia, that there are a whole line of emergencies waiting for my return, prisoners released from jail without money to get home, similarly sick discharged from the hospital, some needing emergency help for schools, others who have come from my Mphangwe where I spent 6 years and which is about 40 miles away sleeping at the bus station. Anyhow we shall see and I’m sure that I’ll get some good news from you later today.
With thanks and with love to you all there,
Fr Patrick Fitzgerald WF - Fr Fitz - was a regular visitor to St Margaret’s since the 1960s as his mother was a parishioner here.