By Paul Dobbyn
THE faithful around Roma are impressed by the power of prayer to summon rain, according to parish priest Fr Jamie Collins.
“Everywhere I go, people are commenting about the Day of Prayer for Rain, and how appreciative they were that the churches in town could come together to pray under such circumstances,” he said.
“On Ash Wednesday, March 5, we had an ecumenical prayer service to pray for rain.
“Then the rains came … in fact three weeks to the day later, March 26, was the wettest day in the whole rain event when we received between 2-3 inches or 67mm.”
The community will now come together in prayers of thanks for rain at ecumenical liturgies being held over Easter.
The prayers will be part of the Easter in the Country festival held in Roma for the past 37 years.
The Roma Combined Christian Churches launch the festival by co-ordinating the Mayoral Breakfast on the morning of Holy Thursday.
The event will be part of the country priest’s busy Holy Week program during which he will celebrate Mass in eight centres.
Prior to the Ash Wednesday prayer service, Roma and its surrounds had been in the grip of a prolonged drought.
Fr Collins spoke of the local St Vincent de Paul Society having to distribute food and other items to suffering families.
“The region seemed to be reaching the depths of despair I witnessed during my six years at St George, especially around 2009,” he said at the time.
And it’s not just been the arrival of rain and the community’s “remarkable lifting in spirits” that has been significant for Fr Collins.
“To know that people were supported and sustained in their moment of need by their faith and by their brothers and sisters in faith has strengthened my own faith and the faith of many around the district,” he said.
“Even if the rain had not arrived as it did, the whole exercise of coming together was a most positive one for so many.
“To have the outcome we did, with the arrival of the rain was even better.”