Deacon donates all book profits to CAFOD’s coronavirus response

Deacon Sean Loone from Our Lady of the Wayside Parish, Shirley, Birmingham, shares why he decided to donate all the profits from his book: ‘Only in the Crucified God – Questions and Answers on Faith, Hope and Love’ to CAFOD’s coronavirus response.

Realising my role as a deacon during lockdown

A deacon is a man called by Christ to be his servant in the world, after all it was Jesus himself who said, ‘I am among you as one who serves’ (Luke 22:27).

Traditionally the deacon is called to serve God and his people in three ways: as a servant of the alter, word, and charity.

However, everything changed when lockdown happened.

Deacons were not allowed to exercise their ministry as a servant of the altar, as priests were instructed to celebrate mass by themselves.

Becoming a ‘Servant of charity’

For me, my ministry as a deacon always had to have a practical element to it, so the first thing I did was to volunteer as a NHS responder.

I also approached the local supermarket, Morrison’s and asked them whether they would consider donating food to the Saint Chad’s Sanctuary in Birmingham, which provides support for asylum seekers and refugees.

Could you support our Coronavirus Appeal which is working to support refugees around the world?

In this way I could fulfil that aspect of my ministry inviting me to be a servant of charity.

Fulfilling the calling to be a ‘Servant of the word’

Lockdown also provided me with more time to spend with the Lord in prayer, study, and reflection out of which emerged the second element of my ministry, the calling to be servant of the word.

This gave way to the completion of a project I had been working on for some time: a book called ‘Only In the Crucified God – Questions on Faith, Hope and Love.’ 

To understand the nature of this project here is an extract, about what the book hopes to achieve:

This is a book about having somewhere to turn when life gets hard. At its heart is the belief that ‘Only In the Crucified God,’ can the ultimate truth be found. Using God’s word and his own insight on life the author invites us to explore our own experiences in the light of crucified love.

I felt that such a book given the dark and challenging times we were all living through was much needed.

Caring for our global brothers and sisters

Finally, one day as I prayed something happened and I can only describe it as a revelation from Our Lord. I would publish my book and donate all of the profits to CAFOD.

So, I made direct contact with them and simply asked the question, ‘Would they be interested?’

Their response was an overwhelming ‘Yes please,’ especially in the light of the devastating effect COVID-19 was having in the poorest countries on earth, amidst people least able to cope with it.

I am now, thankfully, back in the parish and once again exercising my ministry as a servant at the altar but I will be eternally grateful for the grace, which guided me throughout my period of lockdown to serve God and his people as a servant of His Word and as a servant of Charity.

‘Only in the Crucified God – Questions and Answers on Faith, Hope and Love‘ is available here.

Join us for an online talk about life in El Salvador

Last year, a group of CAFOD volunteers and local representatives went to El Salvador. In this online talk, they will share their incredible experiences.

El Salvador is a country with a turbulent history: Despite the civil war in the country ending in January 1992, poverty, high unemployment and gang violence still make life very difficult, especially for women and young people. 

Farming communities are struggling to grow their crops on poor land. Climate change is causing more extreme weather in El Salvador with floods, droughts and tropical storms becoming more frequent.

CAFOD has worked with local partners and communities in El Salvador since 1974.

We are inspired by Saint Oscar Romero and his insistence on the need for peace, justice, equality and respect for human rights.

In El Salvador, our projects focus on agriculture, promoting a culture of peace and justice, and empowering women.

Please join us on Tuesday 28 July at 11am-12pm, the priests and volunteers who visited El Salvador, to learn more about the rich history and our work in the country today.

DEC Coronavirus appeal raises £10 million in first week – helping charities like CAFOD to respond as first cases reported in Northern Syria

This week, thanks to the generosity of the UK public, the Disaster Emergency Committee – of which CAFOD is a member – Coronavirus Appeal has raised an incredible £10 million to help those living in the most fragile states.

The DEC Coronavirus Appeal will help the most vulnerable people in six of the world’s most fragile states: Yemen and Syria; Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Afghanistan.

Donate now

In Syria, our local partners on the ground are reporting urgent concerns about the risks of the virus spreading, as vulnerable people are unable to take the basic measures to protect themselves.

Mustafa, 28, a frontline worker supported by CAFOD, lives in a camp outside Idlib with displaced people.

He explained how they are preparing for what he calls ‘an explosion of coronavirus’ in the camps. He said:

“My heart is beating so hard; we are expecting an explosion of coronavirus in the camps. The coming days are really critical for us.

“Doctors are preparing for the spread of the virus. People live in large overcrowded settlements in tents with maybe 12 people and no access to clean water. It will be a catastrophe. Disaster. Please help them.”

Donate to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal now

Of the 111 public hospitals in Syria, only 57 public hospitals (64%) are fully functioning. There is a considerable shortage of trained staff and a high turnover rate, reducing capacity to manage cases. Up to 70% of health workers have already left the country.

Despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic, CAFOD, many of the DEC’s 14 member charities, are already present and working in refugee and displacement camps.

Through our local experts, we are focusing on essential humanitarian services while ensuring the health and safety of staff, volunteers and communities are prioritised.

Our local experts are giving emergency support and essential hygiene kits and continuing to homeless families who are within Syria itself but also in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.Find out more about our Syria crisis response and please continue to pray for peace in Syria