We are approaching the end of the year and we just wanted to say thank you for a year where your support has been incredible.
While this isn’t a complete overview some of the highlights or significant moments are mentioned below. Do click on any links to find out more.
January Various Deanery Groups of Parish (and other) Volunteers met together to discuss and prepare for Lent Fast Day. Thanks to all those who do a lot of work behind the scenes to encourage people to support our work. We also focused on being an MP Correspondent at the Diocesan Justice and Peace Assembly. As we approach an election year we will be focssing again on asking people to contact their MPs on key issues.
February Lent Fast Day was the main focus this month with the Diocese being incredibly generous once again. We looked at a girl called Tabita, a super goat and life for a family in Kenya. Find out more about our work by clicking here Kenya
March involved lots of visits for our schools volunteers (Lent Fast Day was in half term for most schools). Since January our Diocesan schools volunteer team has been to at least 30 schools and over 11,000 children and young people have heard about our work and been given a chance to support and change the world. One huge thanks to them. Interested in being a schools volunteer? Then click here. One great example of a school supporting our work is St Richard’s in Bexhill-On-Sea which under the magnificent guidance and creativity of Katrina Avery held an amazing sponsored walk to a local food bank supporting those living in difficulty both here and in the rest of the world.
We also hosted visitors from El Salvador in the Diocese. Camberley & Bagshot, St Peter’s Guildford and the Catholic Women’s League in Little Common made Sandra, Julia and Sarah feel warmly welcome to our Diocese. It was great to meet them and great to see how hospitable the Catholic Community is.
The situation in Syria was deteriorating at this time and while we had been holding an appeal for Syria since December, the DEC launched their specific appeal in March. Once again the Catholic Community showed it’s compassion to those in need. Click here for news on the situation and our work.
Finally one must mention that on the 13th of March the Papal Conclave elected Cardinal Bergoglio who became Pope Francis. Pope Francis has done many things in his short time as Pope and highlighting the needs of those in poverty and need has been one of his key concerns. Read our thoughts on his new encyclical Evangelii Gaudium
April Martin represented CAFOD at the Celebrate Conference in Ilfracombe where he challenged people on Catholic Social Teaching and demonstrated that Campaigning Works We were in full flow of CAFOD’s Hungry For Change Campaign and gearing up for the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign. Local singer/songwriter Anne Ward also shared her talents by writing a song especially for the Hungry For Change campaign.
May was a very busy month where we continued our focus on food with schools like St Phillip Howard in Barnham showing their support. We were also blessed to have Dr Jennifer McCarthy from CAFOD’s Asia and Middle East Team visit the Worth Interfaith Forum to speak on our work in Afghanistan. All who came were impressed and delighted with what they heard. We also had our first Thank You Event where we invited those who have supported our work for a long time to an event in Brighton to hear from our partner in Guatemala. And finally a great gathering of musicians took place in Guildford for a ‘Creative Christianity’ Event. The evening was very relaxed, hugely entertaining and raised awareness of the Big IF Rally
June was focussed around the Big IF Rally which was a great success. Please click to hear more about this. June also saw Le Tour De Fred visit St Joseph’s in Guildford where he was shown amazing hospitality by the Catholic Community there. Thanks to all who came along, helped organise the visit and especially to Aseel and to the amazing family that made all of the food. It was amazing!
July saw two seminarians from Wonersh and Martin go to Peru to meet our partners, learn about the work we support out there and experience Parish life in a local community. The first of the blogs can be found here They are well worth reading and thanks for all those who tweeted about them. I’d be happy to speak about the experience in your Parish or Community. The Seminarians have less flexibility in their timetable but are also happy in principle to speak about their experiences.
The sun shone on the Worth Abbey Garden Party which took place on July the 7th. Fun was had by all and £1500 raised in the process.I would like to take this opportunity to remember Nicholas Burridge who died earlier this year. He was our Parish Contact at Worth and hosted the garden party last year. May he Rest in Peace.
Sacred Heart, Hove and Cardinal Newman School, Hove also hosted three special visitors from Colombia and Karen from our Andes Team. If you haven’t read the story then please do, they were some of the most inspiring visitors we have ever hosted and the food was delicious.
August involved a lot of people being on holiday in the Diocese but we continued with a lot of important background office work. It’s less interesting for a blog but sorting out our practices and processes helps us stay efficient, effective and true to our values and commitments.
September involved gearing up for Harvest Fast Day with our usual round of Deanery Meetings and briefings etc. We also held our School Volunteer Refresher Day in Amigo Hall. We joined other volunteers from the South East for an interesting and educational day.
October the 4th was Harvest Fast Day where we asked people to donate as a one off and also consider giving regularly. Regular giving enables us to plan our work in advance and offer a greater degree of stability to our partners. This can be done In Memory of a loved one, to our Emergency Response Fund or to your Parish’s Connect2 Focus for examples but Harvest Fast Day asked us to Make a Place at Our Tables to help us in all our work. We also saw a plethora of events such as the Weybridge St Francis Supper and the Mass of Thanksgiving in St Leonard’s for forty years of faithful support of CAFOD. A wonderful review of the past 40 years of CAFOD support by the Parish was produced for the occasion which will soon be appearing on this blog.
November kicked off with our campaigns conference where we heard from Padre Nacho about our work in Guatemala. Those who made it to London from our Diocese were inspired by his work. We also heard about our partnership with Ecotricity, Triodos Bank and the livesimply Parish Award.
As you will know we also heard about Typhoon Haiyan and how it affected millions of people in The Philippines. Fore more information about this please click here. We would especially like to thank everyone for digging deep into their pockets so soon after Harvest Fast Day. I remember the line from the Gospel of Matthew ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of these brothers (and sisters) of mine you do to me’.
Another fantastic event was held in the Bognor Parish with Rosemary Moon doing a food demonstation. A great, fun event and a great fundraiser too. More information on the Festive Fundraiser here.
On Friday the 29th we finished November with our Diocesan Schools Volunteer Refresher day with updates, sharing, prayer and passing tips to one another. It was a great day organised by School Volunteer Coordinator Anne Barry. We were delighted to welcome Eleanor, our Gap Year Student at Cardinal Newman School in Hove, and Marianne, schools volunteer from the Southwark Diocese who looks after St Leonard’s school in Mayfield for us.
During the year we also had two new office volunteers join us; Steve Rowden and Paola Sedda. They have been very generous and dedicated and have been great company here in the office. We have also enjoyed the presence of Judith, Patrick and Valerie and the office has been so much the better for them.
Now in December we are keeping The Philippines in our prayers while also remembering Syria and other emergency situations in the world. We are grateful that Our Lady of Lourdes in Thames Ditton will be focusing on Syria for their Advent Appeal. For this and for all other communities going the extra mile we would like to say ‘Thank You.’
Thank you for your support this year; your campaigning, your fundraising, your prayer and your inspiring of other people to support our work. You have made a big difference this year.