What are you doing for Lent Fast Day?

Something as simple as soup can transform a life

Ash Wednesday – 6 March – marked the beginning of Lent. Catholics around the world give up some of their favourite things, and others fast.

At the CAFOD office here in Wonersh we used the day to mark the start of our Lent appeal, aimed at helping some of the world’s poorest people break free from poverty and injustice – and you can help.

By eating a simple meal of bread and soup on Friday 15 March, Lent Family Fast Day and by donating the money you save to CAFOD, you can help families like Mahinur in Bangladesh.  It’s hard to believe such a simple act can help to transform a life, but your donation will provide communities with chickens, ducks and hardy seeds that will not be defeated by drought or salty floodwaters.

This Lent, please help us to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world. Your support really will help ensure no one is beyond reach of the love and care they need to flourish. You will be given CAFOD envelopes for your donation from your parish and if you are a tax payer please complete the gift aid form; or you can donate online.

Read more about Mahinur’s story here.

Read about how to organise a Lent Fast Soup Lunch here

Make a BIG DIFFERENCE this Lent.

A meeting with Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton Pavilion and Member of The Green Party

Siobhan Doyle with Caroline Lucas

Campaigning can seem challenging, it can feel like nothing is making any difference and that no one is listening. We often feel powerless when it comes to influencing decisions at top level. But we can make a difference, if we all take small actions to make our voices heard together we can be powerful! Campaigning is often rooted in feelings of powerlessness and struggle, it’s important that we use these feelings and turn them into useful tools for positive action, a desire to make the voices of the world’s poorest heard. As Oscar Romero said, ‘Be God’s microphone on earth’. One way in which we can do this is by speaking with our MPs, they are our link to Parliament!

As part of the Climate Coalitions campaign #showthelove I went along to one of my MP Caroline Lucas’ surgery appointments. It was easy to set up a meeting with her, I emailed her local office and asked for a meeting and one was scheduled a few weeks later. Since she is already an excellent advocate of protecting our common home against climate change as the former leader of the Green Party; there wasn’t much to ask. But, by speaking to her she can say that her constituents care. She was really interested in my year as a CAFOD climate champion, I gave her a green heart and shared why I am passionate about protecting our common home. A few days later, Caroline tweeted saying she was at PMQs wearing the green heart I gave her.

Find out more about becoming an MP correspondent

You can become CAFOD MP Correspondent (MPC) because it is so important climate change is brought up more in Parliament. The reality is that we only have 12 years to limit a climate catastrophe. You don’t need to be an expert, CAFOD will write to you three to four times a year with all the information you need to write a letter or even meet your MP face to face. And if speaking to your MP isn’t for you, there are plenty of ways you can incorporate campaigning into your daily life, whether it be by tweeting, a conversation over coffee or in the way in which you consume products. Every action you take can have a ripple effect.

Find out more about campaigning with CAFOD

Siobhan Doyle, CAFOD Climate Champion, PV, MPC and Communications Volunteer

LEARNING TO LIVE SIMPLY IN EWELL

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It all began when a small group of St. Clement’s parishioners met to study the papal encyclical Laudato Si.  We were inspired by the writings of Pope Francis, who was himself inspired by the life of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

We reflected on the messages in Laudato Si and considered how we as a community could respond practically to protect our world, act with tenderness to each other and reach out to those in our community in need. We were keen to bring together young and old and encourage those who do not always get involved in the day to day life of the parish.

Our answer was to become a Live Simply parish and to apply to CAFOD for their Live Simply award.    

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With the backing of our Parish Priest, Fr. Graham Bamford, and the parish we launched the initiative in May 2017 and were registered by CAFOD as a participating parish on 10th July 2017.

Since then we have

  • made a Live Simply banner and a special notice board
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  • built a vegetable garden, which has been a great success, despite our very dry summer this year, producing good organic vegetables for sale. The proceeds from the sales went to our Connect 2 Cambodia appeal
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  • made sure that all coffee and tea served at St. Clement’s is Fairtrade. We have purchased recyclable cups and started a compost bin
  • set up a walking club to encourage spending time together and appreciating our surroundings
  • held a walk to church weekend encouraging car sharing for those who couldn’t walk
  • held a “Live Simply” reflection during Lent, leading the Stations of the Cross
  • produced a Parish Christmas card, as an alternative to individual cards
  • run a parish social in aid of Epsom and Ewell Food Bank, raising £620
  • raised awareness about refugees and migrants by taking part in CAFOD’s Share the Journey.
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We are now hoping to become the third parish in the Diocese to receive CAFOD’s Live Simply award and we shall be submitting our evidence very soon.

We hope the experience of working towards the award will continue as a positive opportunity for everyone in the parish, young and old, to come together with one goal: to make God known by the way we, as a community, act.

Story: John Farrell, Jonathan Inns and Charlotte Gregory    Picture:  Charlotte Gregory

CAFOD would like to wish Fr Graham, John Farrell, Jonathan Inns, Charlotte Gregory and all the St Clements Parishioners luck in their forthcoming assessment and to thank them for all their hard work in striving to achieve this award.