Ballyfarnon priest ‘lets it grow’ for charity

A Ballyfarnon priest based in Sao Paulo, Brazil is letting his hair and beard grow ahead of a ‘Haircut Auction’ in December in order to raise much-needed funds to provide food parcels for his parishioners during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Fr. Brendan Foley, who is a Spiritan or Holy Ghost Father, will ‘face the chop’ on Friday, December 18th and the event will be streamed live on Facebook.

Recently, Fr. Foley reached out to Athleague woman, Margaret Haughey, a volunteer with the Apostolic Work charity, in a bid to raise awareness of the fundraiser in the Diocese of Elphin.

Margaret said the Apostolic Work charity has been supporting Fr. Foley since 2005.

“At one stage Fr. Brendan was being transferred to Bolivia and he needed to raise funds in order to purchase a motorbike and supplies, which would cost over €2,000. We didn’t have that kind of money at the time but we said we’d see what we could do,” Margaret said.

Volunteers put their heads together and hatched a fundraising plan to knit ‘Easter Chickens’ which could be sold as gifts around the holiday. When Fr. Brendan returned home that year, Margaret and her fellow Apostolic Workers were able to present him with a cheque for €6,000.

“We have continued knitting Easter Chickens ever since. So far the chickens have raised close to €250,000 and helped about 60 Mission projects,” Margaret added.

In a recent email, Fr. Brendan told Margaret that he and his parishioners were looking for “novel ways to raise money” in order to provide much-needed support for the parish. This year’s idea is Fr. Brendan’s ‘Haircut Auction’, which will take place on Friday, December 18th.

A post on the event’s Gofundme page reads: ‘Our Spiritan peripheral parish in São Paulo has suffered greatly over the last ten months with the coronavirus. Since the outbreak of the virus the local population has suffered greatly with high unemployment, schools closed, increased poverty and a steady rise in violent crime. We have had a central role in distributing food parcels to the poorest of families in the parish from our food bank.

‘We need your support to maintain this needy outreach service in the parish…for that immediate reason, we have launched a Haircut Auction of Fr. Brendan Foley’s own hair. Fr. Brendan is working as the parish priest in the Spiritan Perus Mission in São Paulo. He has so kindly grown his hair since last March’.

The auction haircut night will take place on Friday, December 18th (at 11 pm Irish-time) and will be streamed live on Facebook. For more information or to make a donation, check out the Fr. Brendan Haircut Auction page on gofundme.