BY Daniel Harkins | May 11 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Pope Francis - Mary's Meals 2

‘Onwards! Onwards! Onwards!’ Pope tells Mary’s Meals founder

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, chief executive of the school-feeding charity named after Our Lady, met the Holy Father after his weekly general audience thanks to the Scotland’s bishops

Pope Francis offered strong words of encouragement for the founder and chief executive of Scottish charity Mary’s Meals during a meeting in Rome on this morning.

“Onwards! Onwards! Onwards!’ the Holy Father told Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow (right) in Italian at the end of his weekly general audience. “May God bless your work.”

During a conversation in Italian, the Pontiff expressed great joy upon hearing that Mary’s Meals is now providing a daily meal in school to more than 1.1 million of the world’s poorest children.

“Those forceful words of Pope Francis, spoken from the depths of his heart, will remain forever a source of encouragement to me, and I hope for all of us in the Mary’s Meals family,” Mr MacFarlane-Barrow said following the meeting. “He urges us to go forward—always onwards towards that next hungry child waiting, towards this vision of ours that every child in the world might receive a meal every day in their place of education. We will remember his words especially whenever we feel discouraged, or tempted to think that the obstacles are too great.

“I am so profoundly grateful to the Scottish bishops who asked the Holy Father to meet with me and was so proud to be able to present the entire Mary’s Meals family to him again, this time in the form of my book, which tells of our shared story.”

Pope Francis was gifted a special copy of The Shed That Fed A Million Children, Mr MacFarlane-Barrow’s book which tells the story of Mary’s Meals. The specially-bound edition, the first ever printed in the Pope’s native language of Spanish, bore the words ‘un regalo para el Papa Francisco’ on the cover—‘a gift for Pope Francis.’

Mr MacFarlane-Barrow had previously met the Pope in 2013.

Mary’s Meals was founded in 2002 in Dalmally and has grown from originally feeding 200 children in Malawi to a world-wide campaign, providing free school meals in hundreds of schools and feeding over 1 million children.



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