Many thanks to all those who came to our annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Volunteers on Saturday at Our Lady Help of Christians Church Farnborough. It was lovely mass in which we thanked God for all our CAFOD volunteers in the South East region which includes Arundel and Brighton, Brentwood, East Anglia, Portsmouth, Southwark and Westminster dioceses.
Our thanks for presiding at the Mass go to Fr Marco Villani who is the chaplain at the Salesian school in Chertsey and very involved in our CAFOD Youth Leadership programme. Our thanks also to Fr Chris for hosting the mass and to Helen Priestley our parish volunteer at Our Lady Help of Christians for providing a delicious afternoon tea.
Tania Dalton, who is the communications officer for Latin America spoke very movingly about our work in Latin America. She told us how CAFOD supports the region such as helping fund a local radio which is a life line for people living in rural communities as it gives them information about weather, farming techniques and supports them in their struggle for human rights.
She then spoke about an inspirational priest Fr Assis from Cape Verde, a Spiritan missionary priest, who works in the favelas with the poor in Brazil. The Spiritan fathers founded our partner MDF (Movement for the Defence of Favela Residents). We fund work carried out by MDF to lobby local authorities in Sao Paulo for decent living conditions in the favelas, such as sewerage, electricity, decent housing, title deeds. It’s one of the partners that features in C2 Brazil. Fr Assis told Tania about his work;
“For me, Church is people joining together for a common purpose. People coming together who want to make a change, who want to transform their neighbourhood. This is what Jesus Christ was doing. He didn’t build churches; he brought people together.”
“This is my vision of church: trembling, not indifferent, in the face of injustice. This is what I believe in. We have to work for change in society. We don’t always manage it, but it means that we are friends of the poor and enemies of poverty.”
Many thanks to Tania for her inspirational talk and for those who came to join us in our celebration of volunteers and the support they give us in our mission of transforming the world to reflect the Kingdom of God.