Earth Hour – Saturday 25 March at 8.30 p.m. in the UK

What is Earth Hour?  And why should we be interested?

Earth Hour is an annual global celebration where people switch off their lights for one hour to show that they care about the future of our planet.

It’s the tenth anniversary of Earth Hour and it’s estimated that over 6 million people will take part in the UK.

CAFOD is speaking out about climate change because it is the single biggest threat to reducing poverty that exists today. Whether it’s floods destroying livelihoods or unpredictable rains leaving millions hungry.

The last three years have been the hottest on record.

It’s estimated that nearly 1 in 6 species are at risk of becoming extinct – all down to climate change.

We have just one world and it’s changing fast.

It’s never been more important to show that we care.

In his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls on us all to make simple daily gestures to care for the world’s poorest people, for future generations and for the earth, our common home.

This is an opportunity to live wisely, think deeply and love generously.

Since the Paris agreement in 2015 and the UK’s own Climate Act – there have been strong calls for action – but the need is urgent and now is the time to act to protect our beautiful planet Earth.

Earth Hour is a global movement, which brings millions together across the world to call for greater action.

In 2016 a record number of countries took part – 178 countries – in fact and each year more countries come on board.

Famous landmarks around the globe take part – the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle and in Wales, the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, Cardiff Castle and the National Library of Wales, the Principality Stadium and the Liberty Stadium, as well as many other cities, towns and communities like our very own across the world will switch off their lights and come together for an hour, to join a global show of support for action on climate change.

Will you join us tonight (Saturday 25 March) at 8.30 p.m.  Sign up, switch off your lights and show you want action on climate change.

Get to know more about climate change by reading about our latest campaign.

Let us pray for the earth, our common home.

Send us an update if you take part.  We’d love you to help us with our campaigns too.  There are many ways to get involved!

Lent Fast Day is today!

Today – March 10 – is Lent Fast Day.

In this year’s Lenten appeal we are learning about Florence – a 41 year old widow with two children, living in Zambia.  Florence wanted to learn about fish farming and received training from CAFOD’s partner, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary.

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£500 raised at St Joseph’s Cathedral School in Swansea

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Education volunteers Sue and Sarah with some of the infant pupils

St Joseph’s Cathedral School in Swansea organised a day of fundraising fun for the whole school on Friday 3 March and the staff chipped in too!

A parent of one of the children was delighted to support the school’s initiatives and volunteered to help out too – by providing a wonderfully generous Fish and Chip lunch for the staff, which was delivered to the school by two brothers – Ouday and Emir Hiks, from the local chippy.

What a delicious treat and fantastic way to raise funds too!

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Getting the lowdown on Zambia for Lent

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Supporters from some of the Swansea parishes – thank to Canon Flook and St David’s Priory for hosting

Thank you to everyone who attended the Lent Fast Day briefings around the Archdiocese, following the visit by Sr Yvonne.

We have one briefing still outstanding – in Burry Port on Wednesday 16 March at 6 pm.

We are so grateful for your support and it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to share the story behind the Lent appeal more widely.

Florence lost her husband ten years ago in a mining accident.  Despite being a very hardworking mother who is devoted to her family, she struggled to put enough food on the table for her family or to send her younger children to school.

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Supporters from every parish in the Hereford Deanery – special thanks to Fr Matthew Carney at Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs in Hereford

The Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who have been working in her community for over 20 years, recognised how determined Florence was to stand on her own two feet, so they gave her 500 tiny fish as well as the tools and the training to build a pond to farm them.

By selling some of the fish at market, Florence was able to send her children to school – to give them a future.  And Florence is already giving back, sharing what she has with the most vulnerable in her community.

We hope that you have all found the talks, online webinar, briefings or cup of tea meetings useful – we certainly have and it has been lovely to touch base with our wonderful parish volunteers.

If you weren’t able to look join us for the online webinar – all is not lost – you can access it a shorter version here on YouTube.

We showed this powerpoint presentation in the briefings.

And there is a very useful background information sheet on Zambia too.

Other resources you might find useful are a children’s liturgy illustration and a suggested children’s liturgy sheet.

Lent Fast day is this Friday 10 March when we come together to make sacrifices such as eating a simple lunch or supper.

Your sacrifice and donation will support other families like Florence’s so that they too can change their lives.  Just £4 will buy 100 tiny tilapia fish.  £20 will proved the material to build a pond.

Finally, why is so important to consider Gift Aid?  When you donate to CAFOD and fill in the Gift Aid form, you can increase the value of your gift by 25p for every £1 you give – at no extra cost to you. This extra 25 per cent makes a big difference and means that we are able to support our partners with additional funding.   See our Gift Aid video to find out more and to check if you are eligible to Gift Aid your donation.

Last year alone, we raised over £2.6 million through Gift Aid donations.  That extra income has transformed so many lives.  Thank you.

Menevia schools get Fishy for Lent

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St Mary’s Primary School, Pembroke Dock on Valentine’s Day

It’s been a busy time for our Schools volunteers team as they have been out and about visiting schools across the Archdiocese.

In Menevia, on Valentine’s Day St Mary’s Primary School in Pembroke Dock welcomed us into school to learn all about how a fish farming project in Zambia is transforming lives – the children loved the video of Bob, the fish that’s he size of your thumb!p1150290

We also talked about Green Hearts for Valentine’s Day.  We were making and sharing a green heart to show our love for our world and how much we need to take care of it to reduce the impact of climate change. #ShowTheLove

The whole school assembly was followed up by a Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage with Years 4, 5 and 6.

Many of our neighbours around the world struggle to make ends meet.  They don’t even have enough money to buy the basics in life that we take for granted – like food, a home and clothes.

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Laudato Si’ workshop with St Teilo’s Primary School

 

On Monday 27 February, just before Lent started, St Teilo’s Primary school in Tenby learned how we can help to change this by joining with other schools across England and Wales to Turn little fish into Big fish in the whole school assembly.

Morning assembly was followed by a workshop for Year 5  and 6 exploring Laudato Si’  The Pope’s encyclical discusses the damage being inflicted on the Earth by humans and calls on ‘every person living on this planet’ to make urgent changes to our lifestyles and how we consume energy in order to protect the planet.

Take a look at our Laudato Si’ animation.

The day after Lent began, we travelled to St Joseph’s Junior School in Port Talbot to share the story of Florence’s transformation through fish farming with the help of CAFOD’s partners in Zambia.

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St Joseph’s Junior School, Port Talbot

After break Year 5 and Year 6 also followed the Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage action – and wrote some beautiful and poignant messages of hope for refugees.

The following day we were delighted to meet pupils at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Neath.  One of our newest school volunteers, Jane, delivered the Lent Fast Day assembly and was delighted with interest in CAFOD at the school.  She was particularly delighted to learn that St Joseph’s is an “eco friendly” school which strives to recycle as much waste as possible and encourages healthy snacks for children such as fruit, which is not packaged which helping us all to care for our common home.

schoolchildrenWe are always on the look out for more people to join our growing team of Education volunteers in Menevia.

Does this appeal to you?

Please get in touch if you would like some further details.

We all feel that it is such a rewarding role and a real privilege to work with the young people and dedicated staff in our Catholic schools in the diocese.

 

Sr Yvonne from Zambia

supporters-with-sr-yvonne-at-nazareth-house-cardiffOn Monday 13 February we welcomed Sr Yvonne to Wales.  She is from the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who is one of our overseas partners in Mbala in Zambia.

Sr Yvonne and her community are living out Pope Francis’ call to hear the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor.

She shared her story with supporters at Nazareth House on Monday 13 February.  Sr Yvonne has been working with a project called “Households in Distress” supporting some of the most vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change.

sr-yvonneSr Yvonne is also working with small-scale farmers, helping them to grow crops that are resistant to drought. Farmers who only maintain maize are much more susceptible to crop failure, especially as maize totally depends on the rains which are become increasingly erratic because of a changing climate.

Sr Yvonne shared the story of Florence, a widow with two children from Zambia (pictured below) who, with your help, has been able to turn tiny fish into a thriving business and a future for her family.

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She says:

“Each day of my life, I look at everything – creation, people – and I say, ‘Well this is what God has created and it is good.’

 

It is our duty as Christians to bring back that goodness because in this world and in our country – some of the injustices, the sufferings and a lot of negative things, unfortunately take away that goodness. So for me it’s all the time trying to bring that goodness.”

If you missed Sr Yvonne’s talk or webinar, all is not lost as there is a YouTube link here

Find all our Lent Fast day resources here

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Fairtrade Fortnight

fairtradeWales is a Fairtrade country.  Indeed was the first Fairtrade nation in the world! Now that’s something to shout about…

This year Fairtrade Fortnight runs from Monday 27 February until Sunday 12 March.

The food on our tables, the tea and coffee in our mugs, all come from farmers around the world who toil, sweat and slog.

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Help turn Wales’ heart green this Valentine’s Day

thunderclap_infographic_wide_50Stop Climate Chaos Cymru Coalition, of which CAFOD is a member, is calling on supporters to help turn Wales’ Heart green this February to #ShowTheLove for all the places and things they appreciate, love and cherish and want to protect from the effects climate change.

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