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Selling Gifts of Love in a storm outside St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Co Cork

Despite the extremely challenging circumstances of fundraising during a global pandemic, Cobh volunteers; Sister Emmanuel Leonard, Mary O’Sullivan and Don Ryan came together, with the support of their priest, Fr. Tom McDermott, to promote and sell Trócaire Gifts of Love after Mass.  They did not let the desperate weather faze them.  They set up their table outside the church with their waterproofs and masks on and sold the gifts.

Sister Emmanuel testimony: “Leaving my home that morning, in my own head, I was going to Latin America with Trócaire. We got such great support.  My heart warms each time I think of it.  As people left Mass, I said to them “don’t forget Trócaire and the world’s poorest people this Christmas”.  The faces of two parishioners lit up and they came over to me and said “we are so glad you are here Sister.  We were wondering how we were going to support Trócaire this Christmas and you have made it so easy for us”.  I am still so touched each time I think of that morning.

Mary O’Sullivan – “It was an honour to help fundraise last Christmas.  People wanted to give freely and by being at the Church door, it gave them an opportunity to do so. Every little helps. People also need to see a human presence and representative

Don Ryan – “We set up our table for a Trócaire sale of gifts at Cobh Cathedral in a storm last December. All our gifts had to be secured down as we were outside in the elements. It reminded Mary, Sr Emmanuel and myself how families around the world struggle with extreme weather conditions in their attempts to maintain secure housing and a food supply. 

Don believes that education is the greatest gift we can give to every person and that Trócaire’s work in this area is vital. “Human rights are constantly abused and disregarded around the world and Trócaire, like one’s conscience, (we know instinctively what is happening is wrong) engages locally to assist. The use of starvation as a weapon by rogue authorities in particular areas is indefensible. The submissions made by Trócaire on Climate Change are excellent and it’s encouraging to see our politicians recognising how important this area is. In addition, the work highlighting the responsibility of large multinationals and exposing the connection with activities based in localities of people with little support is commendable. Trócaire’s work creates a ripple effect and will multiply the good that does exist in our fragile world. It is for these reasons I volunteer with and support Trócaire”. ​


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