Memorial Masses in Cardiff and Menevia

November is traditionally the month of remembrance in the Catholic Church when we are given the opportunity to reflect on and pray for those who are no longer with us.

This November CAFOD are holding Memorial Masses in each diocese in remembrance of all our supporters and loved ones who have died.

These Masses are our opportunity to stop and say thank you for the incredible impact our supporters have made. Without them we would not be able to reach those most in need.

There is a Memorial Mass this evening (Tuesday) 7 November for the Cardiff Archdiocese at 7 pm at Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs parish, 101 Belmont Road Hereford by kind permission of Father Mathew Carney OSB.

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Do you know your local MP? Interested in influencing their decisions? We need you!

We are on a bit of a mission to recruit more people who are willing to write to their local MP a few times a year.

These wonderful people are called MP correspondents or MPCs in CAFOD speak.

Your local MP is your link to Parliament. They influence decisions which affect the future of the world’s poorest people.

By agreeing to become a CAFOD MPC, you can raise your voice to ensure that the voices of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people are heard in the corridors of power.

We know that Campaigning works. It’s  powerful because it addresses injustice and poverty head on.

Through letters and meetings with MPs, CAFOD supporters have already helped change government policy. We’ve helped secure tough laws to tackle climate change, and ensure the UK is a world leader in its overseas aid contribution.

And it’s thanks to many of you that we’ve also witnessed some historic breakthroughs.

In making your voices heard to your local MP, campaigners are invaluable in supporting CAFOD’s work.

As Adrian Chiles, put it so succinctly:  “At CAFOD we always keep in mind the millions of people around the world still fighting and dying for the rights that we’re exercising here…. We should never take those rights for granted.

“We need our political leaders and MPs to come together and do everything in their power to try to tackle the big issues that affect us all. And we can all do our bit, not just by voting but by speaking to our MPs, marching, signing petitions, doing anything we can to make sure the voices of the poorest communities in the world are heard.”

So we are appealing for more people to come forward and sign up to become an MPC to make sure that our neighbours around the world are kept on the political agenda and not forgotten.

So what is involved?

CAFOD MP Correspondents (MPC) write to their MP to raise awareness and understanding of the causes of poverty and justice.  This is normally linked to CAFOD campaigns – but not always. By writing a letter a few times a year, correspondents start to build a personal connection with their MP and are able to get their attention and give them a mandate to act.

MPCs cover about 80% of the constituencies, that is over 450 MPs. This has enormous potential to influence international and domestic policy.

If you are looking to put your faith into action, but feel you are short of time, then this is the ideal role for you!

When you sign up to be an MPC you will receive letters or emails from us – three or four times a year only, asking you to contact your MP when you can make a real difference.

You can download our helpful MP Correspondent Guide which tells you how to get in touch with your MP and gives you our top lobbying tips.

Letters and emails to MPs have a huge impact, especially when they are personalised and you say why you care about the issue.  MPs know that if one of their constituents writes to them on an issue, there are at least ten others who do care, but don’t have time to put pen to paper.

So your help and your voice really does make a difference.

Download our handy guide to lobbying your MP

To register your interest, sign up here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to fill in your details.  If you want to chat things through, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or call the South Wales volunteer centre on 02920 344 882.  We’d love to hear from you.

Join us on Saturday 28 October to lobby Sainsbury’s “Don’t ditch Fairtrade!”

Sainsbury’s is the largest retailer of Fairtrade products in the UK. They’ve decided to abandon Fairtrade certification on some of their own-brand tea products and pilot their own scheme instead, known as ‘Fairly Traded’.

We are concerned that this new ‘Fairly Traded’ tea and any products that follow it, could mean an unfair deal for poor farmers.

Can you join us on Saturday 28 October to register our dismay at this decision by Sainsbury’s? We are meeting at the Sainsbury’s store near Queen Street station in Cardiff at 12.30 pm as part of a nationwide “Day of Action.”

We will be delivering a letter of protest to Sainsbury’s to challenge their decision to abandon the Fairtrade mark and we need your support to help us raise awareness of their decision to replace the Fairtrade Mark on its Red Label and other selected teas with its own `fairly traded’ version.

Online petitions asking Sainsbury’s to keep the Fairtrade mark have already attracted over 130,000 signatures.  But they remain unmoved to date

If you are unable to join us on 28 October in Cardiff, why not take action yourself and tell Sainsbury’s not to ditch Fairtrade.  You can personalise and print out this letter to Sainsbury’s and get as many people in your parish to sign it.

Fairtrade guarantees tea producers receive an additional `premium’ payment – on top of the price of their tea – to invest in their businesses and communities as they see fit.

CAFOD supporters are concerned that tea farmers will lose control of the social premium they would earn under Sainsbury’s alternative scheme, which stipulates that suppliers have to apply to a UK-based board for their funding.

They are also worried that standards will be controlled by Sainsbury’s, and will not be set independently. Tea farmers will not be represented in the scheme’s governance – in stark contrast to Fairtrade certification where producers are part of the decision making process about how standards are set, monitored and reviewed.

It’s estimated that nearly a quarter of a million tea farmers and workers will be affected.

Last month a group of Swansea residents and CAFOD supporters was was moved to protest against at Sainsbury’s decision to trial their own scheme as they feel that the Fairtrade mark is instantly recognisable.

“As consumers, we make a conscious decision to buy Fairtrade tea.  We are confident that when buying Fairtrade, it’s a guarantee of a fair price and a fair deal for the millions of farmers in developing countries who produce the tea we love to drink.”

“We feel that the term “fairly traded” is disingenuous. People will be confused and it’s really misleading.  They will think Sainsbury’s tea is Fairtrade and not know the difference.  What’s next after tea? Bananas? Coffee?  We are disgusted with this scheme which means that the farmers will no longer be able to decide what’s best for them in their communities – some anonymous board in the Uk will decide for them.”

The protests are part of a nationwide campaign supported by CAFOD, Christian Aid, The Women’s Institute, Traidcraft Exchange and Tearfund calling on the supermarket to reconsider this pilot scheme.

The group said, “Wales is the first Fairtrade nation, let’s keep it that way!”

British tea drinkers account for three quarters of Fairtrade tea sales globally, with Sainsbury’s the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade.

The Fairtrade Foundation was founded in 1992 by a group of charities including CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Traidcraft, to create a market of better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for small-scale farmers. The Fairtrade Foundation estimates more than 1.65 million farmer and workers in 74 countries now get a better deal from Fairtrade.

Therese Warwick, South Wales representative of the aid agency CAFOD said: “Buying Fairtrade tea is a proven way to make a difference every time we drink a cup of tea, and the action by our Swansea volunteers shows the mark is wide supported in Swansea and the surrounding areas, and indeed, across the country.”

“Sainsbury’s have been a leading retailer of Fairtrade products, making a real difference to the lives of tea farmers and their families in some of the world’s poorest countries. We’d like them to reconsider this decision to remove the Fairtrade mark from their own-brand tea.”

And why not explore more about becoming a Fairtrade parish?

 

Sowing seeds at St Joseph’s parish in Neath

The theme of sowing seeds was taken literally at St. Joseph’s parish in Neath this Autumn.

During the Harvest Mass led by St Joseph’s Primary School on 8th October, in thanksgiving for God’s generosity to us, provision was made for those in need both near and far.

A number of heavy carrier bags were presented at the Offertory for sharing between the local foodbank and the Sisters of Charity in Swansea; and the CAFOD Harvest Fast Day collection was taken up at the end of the celebration in support of farmers like Edelmira in El Salvador.

Following the Mass, a number of children and adults made their way to Our Lady’s Grotto where they generously scattered wildflower seeds in prepared areas of ground.

In the Summer of 2018 we hope that these seeds will grow into not only a colourful feast for human eyes, but also produce an abundance of nectar for many bees and other vital pollinators.

Time will tell…

Read how your Harvest Fast Day donations are spent. 

 

Thank you to Sandra Davies for sending through this lovely report.

The Missionaries of Charity do great work in the City of Swansea. They are based at 235, The Strand, SA1 2AW.  Every day they feed the homeless of Swansea and can accommodate 12 people every night who need a place to sleep. It was the last overseas house that Mother Teresa herself opened.

Rohingya Crisis Appeal

More than 500,000 people are now estimated to have fled to Bangladesh, escaping violence in Rakhine State in neighbouring Myanmar. Needs are so great that the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), of which CAFOD is a member, has launched an emergency appeal for the refugees. Here you can watch a impassioned appeal by Wales’ First Minister, Carwyn Jones. Continue reading

#WalesStandsUp to climate change

Can you help Wales stand up to Climate change with this very simple action?

Climate change is the single biggest threat to the people and places we love, both here in the UK and overseas. This autumn, Wales’ Environment Secretary, Lesley Griffiths will be going to Bonn, Germany, to attend the UN climate conference COP 23.

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Schools respond to Harvest Fast Day appeal

St Bernadette’s Primary School, Pentwyn

Autumn, the wonderful season of mellow fruitfulness, has seen our dedicated team of schools volunteers visiting schools across the Archdiocese.

We cannot thank them enough for their enthusiasm and commitment to supporting our vision for change and our agenda for action.

At Harvest time, we celebrate and give thanks for the food we have.

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Jenny’s Camino walk for CAFOD

Jenny Worthington is a volunteer from the parish of Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Porthcawl and has been a CAFOD supporter for over 20 years.

Last month, Jenny set out on her Camino Walk for CAFOD.  She travelled 118 km over 7 days.  What an amazing feat!   She is raising money for one of CAFOD’s life-changing World Gifts – a health clinic.

The cost of this brilliant gift is £4000 which will pay for the running costs of a life-saving clinic in a remote community.  It keeps the clinic stocked with medicines, medical equipment and even provides petrol for the clinic ambulance, giving vulnerable people vital access to much needed healthcare. Continue reading

Planting the seeds for Harvest Fast Day

Parishioners from Holy Name, Fishguard at the Harvest briefing

Blessed Oscar Romero regularly preached how:

“God wants a society where we share the good things that God has given for all of us.”

And at Harvest, we share God’s abundance with our neighbours.

“We plant the seeds that one day will grow.”

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Celebrating Oscar Romero’s Centenary

To mark the Centenary year of Oscar Romero, both Therese and I attended the Ecumenical Evensong in Westminster Abbey to pay tribute to this truly inspirational, soon to be, saint.

It is hard to separate our work in CAFOD from the witness of Blessed Oscar Romero with the poor in his own country in El Salvador. Even before he was assassinated in 1980 for speaking out on behalf of the poorest in, Monsenor Romero, as he is known by the Salvadoran people, was already a saint in their eyes.  Continue reading