Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow, founder of the childrens’s international ‘food aid at school’ charity, Mary’s Meals, born in Dalmally in Argyll, is talking of his recent visit to St Peter’s in Rome to meet Pope Francis.
He says: ‘The work of Mary’s Meals has provided me with many unexpected, and undeserved, encounters over the years. It makes me feel embarrassed. It certainly isn’t fair. There are many around the world involved in Mary’s Meals who should have been further ahead in the long queue waiting to meet Pope Francis.
‘But of course I do know this wasn’t really about me, it was about Mary’s Meals and all of you. When I handed him that mug I did so on behalf of each one of us involved in the daily filling of those mugs. And when I handed him Child 31 I handed him each child who is fed by Mary’s Meals – and each child still waiting.
‘Since his election Pope Francis has repeatedly highlighted the ‘scandal of poverty’. A few weeks ago, he said that to address this “We all have to think if we can become a little poorer, all of us have to do this.”
‘I hope that all of you who have become a little poorer (materially) by supporting Mary’s Meals, will — regardless of our different faiths and beliefs and motivations — find encouragement and joy in this happy meeting that took place this week. ‘