Priest bungee jumps for persecuted Church

By John Newton
A PRIEST took a leap of faith with a difference when he performed a bungee jump in the Highlands of Scotland to raise money for persecuted and other suffering Christians around the world.
Fr Paul Morton, parish priest of St Bride’s, Cambuslang, near Glasgow, made the jump on the Feast of the Sacred Heart (Friday 15th June) to raise money for Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
The 40m jump took place in Pass of Killiecrankie, Perthshire, from the only permanent bungee platform in the UK which is owned by Highland Fling Bungee who supervised the event.
“It was absolutely terrifying,” said Fr Morton.
Asked what he thought as he fell towards the River Garry, he replied: “I was thinking that my mother and father used to tell me not to jump off high places.”
Fr Morton has already raised £3,000 – and joked about his parishioners’ generosity.
He said: “I was suspicious that they were giving a lot of money for the event, and I wondered why – I thought maybe they were trying to get rid of me!”
The priest added: “The final amount will probably be in excess of [£3,000], because there’s still money coming in.”
Fr Morton said he did not know why the stunt had raised so much: “I told parishioners I was jumping for Aid to the Church in Need and it just caught the imagination of people.
“I don’t know why, but people got quite excited about it.”
He explained that the charity was popular with members of his congregation.
He said: “Over the last 10, maybe 11, years we’ve supported Aid to the Church in Need here in St Brides and every year we have a project which we do for ACN.
“It’s a charity that’s become recognised for all its good work and the people here are very much supporters of Aid to the Church in Need, so it seemed natural to choose ACN and we know – as one of the parishioners said – the money’s going right to where it’s needed.”
Asked if he had heard of any other priests doing a bungee jump for charity Fr Morton said: “Absolutely not – and if I did I would tell them not to do it.”

• Donations for Fr Morton’s jump can be sent to Lorraine McMahon at Aid to the Church in Need, Office 2.9, Dalziel Building, 7 Scott Street, Motherwell, Lanarkshire ML1 1PN. Tel. 01698 337470.

Editor’s Notes

Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organisation is now at work in about 130 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACN’s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell, near Glasgow.

While ACN gives full permission for the media to freely make use of the charity’s press releases, please acknowledge ACN as the source of stories when using the material.

For more information, contact John Pontifex, ACN UK Head of Press and Information 020 8661 5161 or John Newton, ACN Press Officer, 020 8661 5167.