Ryan Worms, at a refugee camp in Niger, intend to fast for the 40 days of Lent in solidarity with the poor and hungry in the Global South. Photos courtesy of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace

Fast in solidarity with world’s hungry

  • February 12, 2013

‘Live simply so that others may simply live’

One meal of bread and soup a day is all that Luke Stocking and Ryan Worms intend to live on for 40 days as they raise money and awareness for those who live that way most days of their lives.

The two deputy directors of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace’s In-Canada programs will start their fast, which also includes liquids, at the beginning of Lent. Their goal is part spiritual motivation and part raising awareness for the plight of the poor in the Global South.

“There is a strong tradition of fasting within our Catholic faith,” said Stocking. “Jesus Himself fasted for 40 days in preparation of His ministry.”

This fast is connected to D&P’s THINKfast program, a 25-hour fast and fundraising event for youth, normally focused on high schools and youth groups.

“We’ve expanded it to invite individuals to dedicate their Good Friday fast — Good Friday is a day of fasting for all Catholics — to raising funds for Development and Peace,” said Stocking.

“Generosity of spirit is where goodness is to be found. Generosity is being able to recognize the image of God in every human person, no matter where they come from or what they look like. That generosity is there in every one of us, beating in our heart. Through our fast we want to find that generosity, to honour it and celebrate it.”

Worms, in Montreal, had already planned on fasting for Good Friday. So when Stocking, in Toronto, pitched him the 40-day idea, he came on board to launch this new way of fundraising. Both will have a personal “Fast page” — at the D&P web site at www.devp. org — where people are invited to sponsor their fasts.

“If we are going to share resources of this planet with seven billion other brothers and sisters in a way that is fair and just and equitable, we need to simplify our own lives, we need to reduce our consumption. It’s also giving witness to that maxim that is out there: Live simply so that others may simply live,” Stocking said.

For Worms, the fast is a way to become closer to the people D&P is trying to help, people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

“What does it mean to feel hunger?... to be displaced?” he asks. “It’s a way for me to live deeply in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the South who do not have the same chance as we have here in Canada. And also, it’s a way to follow our Lord Jesus to prepare our souls... prepare my heart for the work to come with Development and Peace.”

Their campaign will coincide with Share Lent, D&P’s annual national fundraising campaign.

“Development and Peace for 46 years has focused on Lent as a time where we can remind ourselves of our obligations as Catholics to not only practise fasting, but also almsgiving. This fast is a unique way to combine those two things... to meet that spiritual commitment to fast in preparation for the Resurrection and the celebration of Christ’s Passion,” said Stocking.

He hopes his and Worms efforts will inspire others to give public witness to “our commitment as people of faith to building a better world, building God’s kingdom.”

Worms was in Niger last year at a Malian refugee camp and was touched by the courage of the local people who opened their arms to refugees despite their own starvation. He sees this as a great example of solidarity.

“When I will be fasting, I will be thinking deeply of friends from Mali, from Niger and all around the world, all those people Development and Peace is trying to help,” he said.

For Stocking, “What would make me even more happier than people donating to my own personal fast is if they would set up their own Good Friday fast fundraising page.”

For Fast pages, visit www.devp. org/en/thinkfast/pages.


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