CAFOD National Volunteer Event 8th June 2019

The first week in June is designated Volunteer Week in the UK. As part of the CAFOD celebrations two national events on the 8th (London) & 15th June (Manchester) were organised to thank and encourage existing volunteers. As a new volunteer of less than one year’s service I was interested and curious to experience the event on 8th June at Westminster Cathedral Hall.  Living in East Sussex this was for me an easy to reach venue but I was surprised and delighted to learn that some volunteers had travelled from more distant places like the Isle of Wight and Swansea and some had come from more northern parts of the country. This gave me a sense of the CAFOD ‘extended family’ that exists.

One of the highlights of the day for me came from listening to Christine Allen the recently appointed Director at CAFOD. Christine takes up her role not only with the experience of her previous charity organisations but having many years ago worked for CAFOD. As I listened to Christine I got the message that she was pleased to be back with the ‘family’. She also mentioned how important and privileged it was for CAFOD to have some 6000 plus volunteers to share in the work in parishes and schools to create a fairer and more just world.

Another highlight for me was when a long-term volunteer of 40 years service was honoured with a Papal Blessing. She was obviously a lot younger than me when she began her volunteer work so I don’t think I can top her record! It was good to be present to witness such committed service.

CAFOD wants to reach everyone where support is needed but insufficient funds means that only 2 out of 3 requests can be met. We listened to 3 members of the International Team pitch for their projects. At each table in the hall we then discussed the merits of the projects with a view to deciding which one would be the one we couldn’t support due to lack of money. This was very difficult as each was worthy of funding. A consensus was reached in the room and this was an example of the daily challenge for the CAFOD team. These were real projects where a decision had already been made by the International Team.

If we want to change the world we need to be able to tell the story well because there is power in personal and corporate stories. This is what we heard in the ‘Telling Your Story’ workshop. We told our stories to each other – how we became involved with CAFOD – and gave feedback on what we saw, felt and thought as each person spoke. This exercise was then used to read and reflect on some of CAFOD’s stories of overseas work. As we reflect on other people’s stories they begin to integrate with our story. How can we share these stories with those in our parishes and schools to create a culture of encounter as opposed to indifference?

As the day came to an end we said goodbye to our fellow volunteers with the expectation that we would meet again at a future training or event day.

Why not consider volunteering for CAFOD? We need people to help deliver the message throughout the diocese. There are many different volunteering opportunities for people in England and Wales with different skills to offer – including: volunteering in parishes, schools, campaigning, corresponding with MPs working in the office and writing prayers. For further information look on our website in the volunteering section.

Isabel Cameron

Campaign Volunteer Coordinator and School Volunteer for CAFOD Arundel and Brighton

A Brief Review of the Year

2017It has been an interesting year. There have been many needs, but much love and dedication shown in response. Here is just a small flavour.

The Justice and Peace Assembly in January welcomed Fr Augusto Zampini to speak about Laudato Si’ where he entertained, inspired and challenged people incredibly well for a tiny bit longer than expected.

Florence and her fish pond
Florence and her fish pond

Lent Fast Day in March focussed on our work in Zambia and Florence and her Fish. Schools in particular enjoyed the theme. Our diocese really got behind the appeal with many soup lunches, collections and events in support (too many to mention each individually).

In July Fr Peter Hughes from the Columbans inspired us with a talk in Weybridge about their work and that of the church in Peru. Sadly also in July, Jo Lewry’s time with us in this office came to an end, but fortunately she is still with us working in the Portsmouth diocese and volunteering in her parish in Godalming.

Elizabeth Wallace at St. Dunstan'sWe also celebrated 30 years of cake-baking by Elizabeth Wallace in Woking and an estimated £35,000 raised. What incredible dedication! We also had the 5th annual sponsored push by the two Michaels in Hastings. There were too many parish events to mention here but our sincere thanks to all who arranged them – they are incredible.

We remembered and prayed for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor who passed away on the 1st of September. As patron, the Cardinal was heavily involved in CAFOD’s work and is missed in CAFOD and in our diocese where he was Bishop from 1977 to 2000.

Christina Lucey (centre) at the Papal Audience where Pope Francis spoke of Share the Journey

Christina Lucey (centre) at the Papal Audience where Pope Francis spoke of Share the Journey

Bexhill volunteer, Christina Lucey, was delighted to be in the Papal Audience as Pope Francis launched the global Share the Journey Campaign on Refugees which will be our focus after Easter 2018.

We were also joined in the office by new volunteer, Claire. This means we have four regular office volunteers including Steve, Elizabeth and Alastair. During the year we happily welcomed Maria, Jacqueline, Jeremy to our school volunteer team meaning we now have ten school volunteer visitors with more interested in joining in 2018.

cropped-edelmira-picking-a-passion-fruitCAFOD’s Harvest Fast Day in October showcased Edelmira, an El Salvadoran Farmer. It was supported well by individuals, parishes and schools in the diocese, again with a variety of lunches and events. Donations are still coming in from our parishes and schools.

In Autumn, the Sainsbury’s ‘Don’t Ditch Fairtrade Tea’ campaign was well supported in the diocese and pressure is still being applied so that Sainsbury’s doesn’t back track on its commitment to Fairtrade.

Young leaders have the Power to Be

Young leaders have the Power to Be

Young leaders from three of our diocesan schools (St Peter’s, St George’s and Salesians) joined with others from Portsmouth diocese in October for training with the aim of leading CAFOD activities in their own school.

We celebrated the First World Day of the Poor on Sunday the 19th of November, called for by Pope Francis.

In November across England and Wales, Memorial Masses were celebrated to remember and honour friends and supporters who have died. Our Lady of England in Storrington warmly hosted our Mass with Fr Charles offering the Mass. We remembered many people, not least James Malcolm our Parish Volunteer in Molesey who also coordinated the Weybridge Deanery for many years. James sadly passed away on the 29th of October and is missed by all who knew him.

Human Rights Defenders - our retreatants in 2017

Human Rights Defenders – our retreatants in 2017

We held retreats throughout the country and our local one at the wonderful St Cuthman’s diocesan retreat centre in Coolham in December. We reflected on Oscar Romero and other inspiring human-rights defenders.

We had some notable campaign successes in 2017, not least a victory for families in Brazil. Diocesan Young CAFOD volunteers Eleanor, John-Paul and Ed shared their passion for Laudato Si’ at a global youth conference to coincide with international climate talks. Two thirds of general election candidates heard CAFOD’s questions and calls for a more just world. We also had our second livesimply parish – Holy Family in Ash, with many others registered and journeying towards it. The World Bank, subject of our Power to Be campaign, recently stated it will end its financial support for oil and gas exploration within the next two year.

2017 was sadly a year of many emergencies. Here are some – many of them still on-going, please click through for more information or to support the appeals.

The Syria Crisis continued. Thanks to the compassion and generosity of Catholics across England and Wales, our partners are providing vital emergency aid – food, shelter and medical care – to vulnerable families both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.

East Africa Crisis continued. 16 million people have been facing severe hunger in South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.  More than 800,000 children under five are severely malnourished. CAFOD supported our Church partners in these countries who are already on the frontline doing all that they can.

People are fleeing violence in Myanmar

People are fleeing violence in Myanmar

Rohingya CrisisMore than 630,000 people are estimated to have fled to Bangladesh since August, escaping violence in Myanmar. CAFOD’s partner, Caritas Bangladesh, is responding to the Rohingya crisis.

Yemen CrisisMore than two years of conflict have pushed Yemen, already one of the world’s poorest countries, to the brink of catastrophe. Half of the population – 14 million people – have been going hungry and need help before it’s too late.

The Refugee Crisis Continued, supporting our partners Caritas Serbia, Caritas Hellas, Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Switzerland. Messages of hope written by our supporters have been shared with refugees around the world. This was a big theme of our presence at the Flame Youth Conference in March, 10,000 reasons.

Devastating Floods across South Asia affected more than 40 million people and resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 people. We have partners in India, Bangladesh and Nepal who are providing urgent support to the most vulnerable and marginalised communities devastated by the floods.

Hurricanes Irma and Matthew (to name just two) battered the Carribbean causing widespread destruction. CAFOD partners responded to the situation providing emergency basics.

Also various emergencies happened but didn’t really make the news such as those in Colombia, Sri-Lanka and Peru.

Our prayers, thoughts and efforts go to those in need throughout the world.

Our sincere thanks go to all of you who have made it possible for us to support people and communities in poverty throughout the world. You have fed the hungry, given water to the thirsty, provided for the homeless, protected the vulnerable, made peace, called for justice, reached people in the most difficult circumstances and helped build a world that more closely reflects the Kingdom of God.

Thank you

Three Little Pigs, Christmas Gifts and a School Full of Smiles

One Little Pig in The Philippines

One Little Pig in The Philippines

Four Years ago, this November, Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm to make landfall, hit The Philippines. Schools, parishes and individuals generously donated to our emergency appeal which raised £5.4 Million in total. The response from schools was fantastic with a huge range of fundraising activities arranged from cake sales to 24-hour basketball marathons.

We have a team of Schools Visitors who can offer an interactive assembly for your primary school which is especially accessible for Key Stage One as it is includes the story of the 3 Little Pigs.

Advent is on the way

With Advent quickly approaching our volunteer visitors can also help ensure our global family are part of your reflections and celebrations.

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