Our planet is facing a triple crisis: the pandemic, climate and poverty.  As Catholics, we are called to see, to listen and to respond.

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The pandemic has pushed more people into poverty and increased inequality, the climate crisis is getting worse and the nature and biodiversity of our world is being destroyed.

How we recover and rebuild our world after the pandemic is vital in addressing the climate crisis, increased poverty and inequality and ensuring everyone is safe from Coronavirus.

This year the UK government hosts two international summits, the G7 and COP26 climate talks, which will be vital in shaping the right response of the international community

Our neighbours, our brothers and sisters in the world’s poorest places are facing one of the greatest challenges.

The pandemic has been a health crisis but also reversed much of the progress of tackling poverty.

Meanwhile the climate crisis has not gone away and continues to impact on how people make a living.

So the planet is facing a triple crisis: the pandemic, climate and poverty.  It threatens the survival of millions of people in our world.

These three emergencies don’t exist in isolation.  If global emissions cause temperature rises of more than 1.5 degrees and crippling debt payments mean the world’s poorest communities are unable to rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic, millions more will struggle to survive.

How can our Catholic community help to solve these problems?

Well, by taking action.

2021 is a crucial year for achieving change. As hosts of two historic, international meetings – the G7 in Cornwall in June and the UN climate talks (COP26) in Glasgow in November, the eyes of the world will be on the UK to show global leadership in tackling the world’s major challenges.

Politicians must approach these talks in the interests of the common good rather than their own narrow, short-term national interests and put the planet and its people at the heart of the decisions they make.

 

But they will only do this if it’s what we all want of them.

This is where our Catholic community can make a difference.  We know that throughout history, change only happens when enough people come together and demand it of their leaders.  We need to come together as the Catholic community in this country (5 million of us) to let our leaders know that this is what we want.

This crisis has reminded us of the need to work together, across borders, as one global family.

It reminds us that we can be there for our neighbours, that we can consume less and appreciate more of what we have.

We are called as Catholics to see, to listen and to respond.

We have to create economic and political systems that do not disadvantage the poorest in our world so that everyone can flourish.

We need to tackle these issues together.

These problems are interconnected; one can’t be solved without addressing the other.

Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti, challenges us all to rethink how we see other people.

So we are rolling out ‘Parliament in your Parish’ as part of our new campaign, Reclaim Our Common Home.

We are inviting you to organise an online meeting with other parishioners with their local MP, to discuss how we can rebuild after the pandemic in a way that makes the world a fairer place, and tackle some of the major global issues including climate change and unjust debts.

We have already run a couple of training sessions, covering everything from why faith and community participation matters and the challenges of facilitating an online meeting (and how to address them), to the keys to encourage your MP to taking action. 

But don’t worry if you missed the training session please can I encourage you to watch the recording here.

And we are hoping to run more. Dates to follow!

If you have any questions about how to organise a Parliament in your Parish meeting, please contact PinyourP@cafod.org.uk for more information. Or if you would like to have a chat about this on a one-to-one or parish basis, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at CAFOD South Wales.  We’re excited about this campaign and we don’t want anyone to be put off if you haven’t done it before.  So do call 07866 702205 or email us. We’d be delighted to chat. 

If you want printed cards you can also order them from the CAFOD shop.

If you need further inspiration on why your signature and your voice matters take a look at what you’ve achieved in past campaigns!

Stuart’s Walk for Water in Wales

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The marsh road on north Gower between the villages of Crofty and Llanrhidian

Stuart is a long-standing CAFOD volunteer in his parish in Swansea – St David’s Priory as well as a committed campaigner.  He is taking part in WalkForWater for @cafod

By the estuary

Read more about Stuart:

“I am married and have a son, daughter, foster son and 2 grandchildren. I was educated in Catholic schools in Newport and Cardiff and grew up with an awareness that there was a huge discrepancy between our standard of living and that of people in the developing world.

Following university, I taught for two and a half years in a Catholic secondary school in Tanzania, a really rewarding experience. On my return I trained as a social worker and until my retirement I spent my whole career in social work which made me aware of discrepancies in living standards in this country.

With more free time it was a natural decision to become involved in CAFOD.

He’s thinking of joining me!

As I live on North Gower it is an ideal place to undertake the challenge to Walk for Water over the 40 days of Lent. you just have to make sure you miss the high tides.

Apart from the animals wandering free on the marsh I am sometimes joined by a fellow parishioner and by my wife.

My 8-year-old neighbour, Mabon, was so taken by the reason that I am walking that he has sponsored me and indicated that he would like to walk with me too.”

Mabon with Stuart – love the background!!

And here’s Mabon walking with me.

Click here to support Stuart’s WalkForWater challenge to help end water poverty.

His JustGiving page is here and has already raised over £2000!  Thank you for your generosity and prayers.

To donate to Stuart’s page click here.

 

Sunny morning in the woods

Do you want to put your faith into practice this summer? Why 2021 must be a year of transformation. Explore our training…

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As the host of two major international conferences, the British government has a crucial role to play in 2021. In the summer, Britain will host the G7 annual meeting where the leaders of the seven richest countries will gather to discuss how to rebuild after the pandemic.

This will be followed by the UN ‘COP26’ climate talks taking place in Glasgow in November, where world leaders will come together to agree how they will work towards ending the climate crisis.

CAFOD is offering a two free sessions with step-by-step training on how to lobby your MP in support of CAFOD’s Reclaim Our Common Home campaign.

Register here

DATES:

THURSDAY 25 MARCH from 11 am – 12 noon

WEDNESDAY 14 APRIL from 2-3 pm

We are inviting Catholics nationwide to organise a public meeting with other parishioners to discuss the importance of this year for the world with their local MP.

Book your place now to attend the training on either Thursday 25 March or Saturday 10 April. Register here.

What we will cover in this training session

  • Faith and community participation: why it matters
  • How to set up a meeting with your local MP
  • The key elements of successfully promoting an event
  • The secret of not being put off by technology and run an engaging webinar
  • The challenges of facilitating an online meeting and how to address them
  • How to commit your MP to taking action
  • The ‘Reclaim our Common Home‘ campaign and why its three demands are vital

In his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis says:

“Global society is suffering from grave structural deficiencies that cannot be resolved by piecemeal solutions or quick fixes. Much needs to change”.

But social transformation demands citizen participation – and 2021 offers a lot of opportunities for that. This year, Britain is hosting two major international meetings: the G7 and the UN climate talks. This puts us in a unique position to exercise global leadership and to address some of the structural deficiencies to which Pope Francis refers.

Who is this event for?

This event is for all Catholics interested in the climate crisis and social justice who want to engage their local MP in these issues.

Register here

Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament – photo Tony Hisgett

As the eyes of the world will be on Britain this year, it is vital that we all come together to raise our voices and ensure that our government listens.

 

Parliament in your Parish – free training sessions 25 March & 10 April

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Do you want to learn step-by-step how to organise online meetings to lobby your MP or MS?

On Thursday 25th March and Saturday 10th April, we will be rolling out ‘Parliament in your Parish’ as part of our new campaign, Reclaim Our Common Home.

We are inviting you to organise an online meeting with other parishioners with your local MP, to discuss how we can rebuild after the pandemic in a way that makes the world a fairer place, and tackle some of the major global issues including climate change and unjust debts.

In these training sessions we will be covering everything from why faith and community participation matters and the challenges of facilitating an online meeting (and how to address them), to the keys to encourage your MP/MS to taking action.

For those interested in joining Parliament in your Parish, we are offering a training session on two separate dates: Thursday 25 March, 6.30-8pm or Saturday 10 April, 11-12.30pm. Register your place now at cafod.org.uk/mpmeeting

If you have any questions about how to organise a Parliament in your Parish meeting, please contact PinyourP@cafod.org.uk for more information.

Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament – photo Tony Hisgett

Speed hustings on Earth Day with Young Climate Ambassadors. Aged 16+? Join at 5 pm!

Ahead of the Senedd Elections, how will each party make the most of COP26 for Wales and ensure Wales plays its part in reaching net-zero?

This year, the United Nations is heading to Scotland for the 26th Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). 200 countries and 30,000 delegates will descend on Glasgow to take action on climate change. This is an invaluable opportunity for you, for us, for Wales to go to the table where decisions are made, and demand action.

Each party representative will give their response to these questions, before a round of quick-fire follow up questions from the audience.

Participate in the event in Welsh or English – translation will be available.

This event is a partnership event between Climate.Cymru, the campaign to take 50,000 voices from Wales to COP26 (with the Stop Climate Chaos Cymru Coalition) and the Youth Climate Ambassadors.

Register here to add your voice!

Earth Day – April 22nd

Earth Day, celebrated on 22nd April each year, is the annual event dedicated to awareness about the various environmental challenges that face our planet.

Co-ordinated by the Earth Day Network, 193 countries around the world have their own version of celebrations. The Earth Day Network works around the world to work towards changing things for the better when it comes to: Climate Action, Science and Education, People and Communities, Conservation and Restoration and Plastic and Pollution.

The 2021 version of Earth Day will be the 50th anniversary of the event.

 History of Earth Day: The idea of Earth Day first originated among the people fighting the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. It is said that American senator Gaylord Nelson, one of the main proponents of the event, was flying over the disaster in an aeroplane and was so shocked by the scale of it that he decided to create a Day to help prevent future cases.

The first Earth Day, held in 1970, saw millions of people around the world roam the streets with the desire to make a stand for environmental change. Many think of this as being the beginning of modern environmental activism. Since then, the Day has gone from strength to strength, with the Internet helping to distribute its message further than was ever possible before.

Its crowning achievement perhaps came in 2016, when the Paris Agreement came into force for the majority of the World’s countries, ensuring increased environmental protection.  Earth Day is now the world’s largest civic event.

Each year, Earth Day has a variety of themes, signifying a new focus on a particular environmental concern.  In 2021, these themes include:

  • Volunteering: millions of people will take part in Earth Day, and it is hoped that many will volunteer to improve the environments where they live. This could involve anything from cleaning up litter to help plant new trees.
  • Artists for the Earth: to help spread the message of environmental urgency, art can play a huge part in capturing the public’s imagination.
  • Education: it is only by focusing on the next generation that the environmental fight can continue to be fought.

Events: awareness events, such as street rallies and marches, will bring the causes of Earth Day to the doorstep of homes throughout the World

WHAT CAN I DO…..

PRAY – but don’t forget – “if you pray for rain, go build a store to save every drop of water you have asked God for…..”  

Pray this lovely prayer for our Earth. 

A  prayer for the Earth for children here.

ACT – for example you could…..

  • Not use throw-away masks
  • Wear blue and green on 22nd April
  • Write to supermarkets and tell them you don’t want to buy fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic
  • Purchase a bush/tree and plant it in your garden…
  • Decide that one day a week you will not eat meat
  • Write to your MP – encouraging support of the CEE climate bill
  • Buy a re-usable bag so that you don’t have to use plastic bags
  • Take your own cup to get your coffee
  • Fight food waste – compost/buy less/use local
  • Don’t use harmful pesticides in your garden
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
  • Lessen your time in the shower by 2 minutes
  • Turn off lights when not in use/and turn off electric sockets
  • The three R’s: Reduce, Re-use and Recycle 
  • Join CAFOD’s Reclaim our Common home campaign for COP26 – sign the online petition to the Prime Minister here. 

Reflection:       Take some time for personal reflection

  •  Share with a companion/friend

Grateful thanks to Srs Susan and Mary (Presentation Sisters) in Shirebrook (Nottingham Diocese) for this reflection 

Seven ways the church changes the world

Faith and religious practice are central to most people’s lives in the Global South. Religious institutions are at the heart of society, the cornerstones of the community, with a long reach into even the most remote communities.

Join CAFOD Head of Policy Graham Gordon and Sierra Leone & Liberia Country Rep Kayode Akintola in discussion about the distinctive difference that the Catholic Church makes.

Graham Gordon, Head of Policy at CAFOD

This promises to be a very interesting webinar, so please do join us on Thursday 22 April at 11 am. Register below.

Webinar: Seven ways the Church changes the world by CAFOD (bigmarker.com)

Who is my Neighbour reflection by Debs CPC Northampton.

Thank you to our colleauge Debs in Northampton diocese for sharing this.

CAFOD Portsmouth Blog

We are familiar with Jesus’ words: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40) and “love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mk 12:31).

Yet what do these words mean in the midst of a pandemic? Of course, love takes many and varied forms depending on the circumstances in which it finds itself. We ask ourselves, “What is the most loving thing to do in the reality of the here and now, within the limits of what is possible?”

During the pandemic, we have asked for prayers for our loved ones who are sick, lonely or in need. These same needs are very much felt in other parts of the world too and voices there are similarly raised in prayer. A woman from Niger, supported by the work of CAFOD, said…

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Pray without ceasing for our common home

From last November until the next UN climate summit in November this year, the COP26, we’ll be praying without ceasing to renew the earth.

Prayer is a powerful tool, and is needed now more than ever as we witness how coronavirus sheds light on the injustices already faced by vulnerable communities, particularly the climate crisis.

The power of prayer
From terrible floods in the UK to fires in Australia, we are witnessing extreme weather which scientific consensus tells us is made worse by the climate crisis.

For the world’s poorest people, the impact is severe and it’s happening right now.
Livelihoods are lost as crops are swept away; decades of patient development work lost overnight. We have a duty to respond to put our common home on the path to recovery.

In collaboration with Christian Aid, Tearfund and others, it’s never too late to join in the year of prayer for our common home. You can do it on your own, in your community or in your parish.

Here is our joint prayer:

Prayer for Glasgow

Creator God,
We cry out to you
The earth is damaged and in chaos
People in poverty are suffering the most
Greed and consumerism are a disease
And your Church is too often asleep

Merciful Lord,
Protect your people and restore your earth,
Embolden governments to take action,
Awaken Church leaders
Give the youth influence
And guide businesses to change

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord
May we unite and be bold
Take heart and find hope in you,
Worship you with our lifestyles
Walk in your truth
and see justice and renewal in the earth

Amen.

Sign up to pray with us.

My CAFOD Walk for Water Challenge by Mel.

Fantastic effort from Mel and Jack. I was privileged to meet them both on the Romero Trust pilgrimage to El Salvador. So I know what an enormous effort this has been especially for Mel. Huge thanks to them both for their prayers and commitment. Absolutely amazing.

CAFOD Portsmouth Blog

“My personal journey along this winding road of CAFOD’s ‘WALK FOR WATER’ challenge began because of Abdella who has to walk ten hours a day. He sets out in the early hours of the morning to avoid the severe heat. He leaves behind his two little nephews sleeping as they are too young to make the treacherous journey. He has left some food for them but the smile he gets as a reward from them when he returns with precious glasses of water is worth his sacrifice and the many steps he had to take for them he make…. so during this Lenten season I chose to make that sacrifice and a commitment of my time and pain for Abdella and for those like him who are deprived of clean water- a pure basic human need. I felt sad and I believe it is unfair that government and big corporations…

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His mercy endures forever

Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my saviour.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
(From Psalm 118)

Free training on how to organise a successful online meeting with your MP

We are encouraging Catholics all over the UK to organise a public meeting with other parishioners to engage their local MP and/or MSs in climate crisis and social justice issues.

Book your place on our free training course on Saturday 10th April from 11.00am-12.30pm, where you will learn the step-by-step process on how to lobby your MP or MS in support of CAFOD’s Reclaim Our Common Home campaign.

Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament – photo Tony Hisgett

The training session will cover:

  • Faith and community participation: why it matters
  • How to set up a meeting with your local MP/MS
  • The key elements of successfully promoting an event
  • The secret of not being put off by technology and run an engaging webinar
  • The challenges of facilitating an online meeting and how to address them
  • How to commit your MP/MS to taking action
  • The ‘Reclaim our Common Home’ campaign and why its three demands are vital

Registration is free! Book your place now by clicking here.

 

Wishing you all a very happy and blessed Easter

May the promise of the resurrection fill your Easter with hope and happiness.

Easter is not magical.

It is transcendent.

Jesus is not somewhere else.

Christ is everywhere—through him all creation holds together.

He lives and breathes through his body, the Church.

What does it mean to live as Easter people?

It means we live as a people, all parts of Christ’s Body working together toward a single purpose: love.

—Vinita Hampton Wright

Rise heart; thy Lord is risen.

Sing his praise without delays,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.

George Herbert, Easter

 

We pray for everyone in our global family who is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, for those in our own parish, and for those who live in countries where healthcare is limited, and poverty brings enormous challenges. May God grant us all the gift of an open-hearted, generous and compassionate response to those in need. Amen.

Wishing you all the joy and peace this Easter season brings.