43 parishioners, 4 dogs and 1 MP Share the Journey/Rhannu’r Daith

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On Sunday, 15 July, 43 parishioners from St Helen’s RC parish in Caerphilly (plus 4 dogs) answered Pope Francis’s call to ShareThe Journey which calls on us all to be “welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees.”

Parish priest, Father John Kelly, welcomed the walkers and the group was blessed with good weather (32 degree heat!) as they set off from the church at 3 pm to walk around the beautiful and historic Caerphilly Castle.

Long-serving local MP for Caerphilly, Wayne David, joined the walk and added his support to the global campaign which is calling on the UK government to take a lead when the United Nations meet in September and December this year to agree new global agreements on refugees and migrants.

These agreements will set the tone for many years to come on how refugees are treated and welcomed around the world.

“Refugees are not numbers to be distributed and allocated, but persons with a name, a story, with hopes and aspirations.”

 

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Upcoming Share the Journey walks around the Archdiocese of Cardiff

We are delighted with the response to the Share the Journey campaign from the parishes around the Archdiocese.

The campaign has gathered enough momentum to have already reached its initial target of walking around the world: 24,900 miles.  We are hoping that this will get the attention of world leaders… please consider lobbying your MP.

We have a very useful and powerful scheme for MP Correspondents – people around the country who undertake to write to their local MP – a couple of times a year – to try to influence them to act on behalf of the world’s poorest people. Will you join us?

So now we are embarked on a SECOND walk around the world!

Please continue to respond to Pope Francis’ call for us all to to act in solidarity with refugees and migrants.

And getting involved in the Share the Journey campaign is just one way in which we can all respond.

So please sign up to add your voice to this important campaign which is lobbying the UK government to play a leading role when the United Nations agree new global agreements on the rights of refugees and migrants in September this year.

We are praying, walking, signing cards and lobbying our MPs to ask that these agreements are compassionate, respectful of human dignity and keep families together.

“God overturns every human preconception and prejudice which prevent us from grasping reality.” Pope Francis

So it’s an enormous thank you to the parishes who have already taken part by organising petition card signings or Share the Journey parish walks.

It’s easy to sign the petition online.

And there’s plenty of time for your parish and/or parish groups such as a Justice & Peace group, UCM, CWL or SVP, Catenians, etc to get involved….

Here is a list of upcoming parish walks which anyone is welcome to join.  Why not invite a friend along too?  The list will be updated with every new walk that is added and please don’t forget to let us know how you are getting involved.

Sunday 15 July – St Helen’s RC Church, Nantgarw Road, Caerphilly CF83 3FB.  Leaving St Helen’s church at 2.30 pm to walk around Caerphilly Castle.

Wednesday 18 July – St Mary’s RC Church, Edith Road, Dinas Powys, Cardiff CF64 4AD. Leaving the church at 6.30 pm.

Saturday 21 July – St David’s Priory Church, St David’s Place, Swansea SA1 3NG.  Meet at the Beaufort Arms, Kittle at 9.45 am for a prompt 10.00 am departure.  This is a social walk around the Gower of 11 miles but with an option to complete one section of 5.5 miles (phone Ben on 07967 077002 for details).  Gower terrain, walking shoes, trainers are fine as long as the good weather persists.  Please bring snacks, plenty to drink and a packed lunch which we will share at the viewpoint of Penmaen.  Finish back at the Beaufort arms at around 4.30 pm.

Thursday 26 July – Holy Cross, Heol y Bryn, Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire SA15 5AG.  Walk at 6.30 pm along Kidwelly Quay. About 3 mile walk. Meet at Grid Reference: SN398064, the main car park at Kidwelly Quay.

Friday 21 September – Our Lady & St Michael RC Church, 10, Pen-y-Pound, Abergavenny, NP7 5UD. Time to be confirmed.

You can find out more about CAFOD’s work with refugees here.

 

Taking action with a Share the Journey walk of witness at St Philip Evans, Cardiff

St Philip Evans parish in Llanedeyrn is home to the Cardiff Catholic Deaf Service and the “designated parish” serving Deaf people throughout the Archdiocese of Cardiff.

The parish covers Llanedeyrn, Pentwyn and Pontprennau.

On Saturday 7 July between 2.30 and 4 pm they are organising a parish walk.

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We want to say a big THANK YOU to all our volunteers

Sarah O’Kane (left) with Sue Philippart

It’s volunteers week (1-7 June) and we want to say publicly how enormously grateful we are for all that YOU, our volunteers, do in our parishes and schools.  Without your prayers, support and commitment to CAFOD we could never achieve as much as we do.  You are invaluable! THANK YOU!

This week is an ideal opportunity to ask the question: “What is it that motivates you to volunteer for CAFOD?”

One of our wonderful volunteers is Sarah O’Kane who lives in Swansea.  Sarah is an invaluable part of our Education volunteer team covering the Menevia diocese.  She is also a parish volunteer at Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Mumbles. 

Sarah gave us her response:

 “I’m motivated by trying to act as Jesus would towards others.   I like fundraising for CAFOD because as an Agency it helps to make the world a fairer place.  I feel a sense of solidarity with those combatting enormous difficulties. 

 CAFOD helps people to help themselves e.g. setting up a struggling farmer with enough fish and tools to build a pond and start a fish farm.

I like the fact that CAFOD projects are sustainable because of the way they work with local partners who have the knowledge needed in setting up and maintaining a new venture. 

I like the way CAFOD works with people regardless of their beliefs. Continue reading

Menevia schools learn about Zimbabwe

St Joseph’s in Port Talbot

Our team of Education volunteers enjoyed a busy Lent and were all out and about visiting some of our Catholic schools in the diocese of Menevia and the Archdiocese of Cardiff.

We are so grateful for their experience, expertise and commitment to helping children to learn more about global issues of injustice and CAFOD’s work in over 44 countries around the world.

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Tenth Easter Concert for CAFOD at St Mary’s, Lugwardine

Students pictured with Share the Journey action cards

St Mary’s RC High school in Lugwardine is responsible for the education of around 750 pupils and is the only Catholic secondary school in the county of Herefordshire, serving the communities of Hereford, Ledbury, Leominster and Ross-on-Wye.

What is truly wonderful about St Mary’s is how the school has supported CAFOD so faithfully over many years. Continue reading

Romero Festival in South Wales (9-15 March)

Today brought wonderful news from the Vatican: Pope Francis has recognized a second miracle from Blessed Oscar Romero which puts him on the path to canonization.

He was beatified by Pope Francis in May 2015.

Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. He was assassinated on 24 March 1980 as he was celebrating Mass.

At the time, El Salvador was in the grip of a cruel civil war between guerrilla forces on the left and a dictatorial government on the right.

When he was appointed, Oscar Romero was seen as a “safe” pair of hands but during his three short years as Archbishop, and seeing the oppression and violence at first hand, he became an outspoken critic of the injustice he was witnessing all around him. Continue reading

Swansea parishioners Lenten fundraiser helps fight hunger across the world

Gemma Salter (far left) with parishioners from Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Swansea parishioners have hosted a ‘family fast day’ and welcomed back a Swansea woman who spoke about her time visiting communities in Zimbabwe who will be helped by this year’s CAFOD Lent fundraising campaign.

Last Friday, parishioners from Our Lady Star of the Sea in Swansea hosted a Family Fast day – a day where communities enjoy a simple meal and donate the money saved to charity- and welcomed back Gemma Salter, a local woman who now works for the international aid agency, CAFOD.

During the event, they heard Gemma speak about her experiences visiting Zimbabwe and enjoyed a simple meal to fundraise for the charity.

Gemma said: “I never pass up the chance to visit my home town! So I was delighted to be invited to speak in Swansea. But more than that, it was a chance to share some of the incredible stories I heard on my trip to Zimbabwe.”

Sue Philippart, Gemma Salter, Fr Mansel Usher and Sarah O’Kane

The community’s efforts will help fund agricultural training, education and clean water projects for communities living in poverty. And, in an added boost, all donations to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal, up to £5 million, will be doubled by the UK government up until 12 May. Continue reading

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight! Meet Fr John Joseph at St Helen’s, Caerphilly on Sunday 11 March

We are in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight!  (26 February – 11 March)
So what exactly is Fairtrade?
Well it’s about choosing products that change lives.
Their mission statement is:
We want a world in which justice & sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full potential.
To achieve this vision, Fairtrade seeks to transform trading structures and practices in favour of the poor and disadvantaged.
It’s still a shocking fact that millions of farmers and workers who produce the food we love, still don’t earn enough money to feed their own families.
Fairtrade Fortnight shines a spotlight on trade.
When we reach for our favourite food and drink every day without ever thinking where it comes from, we become part of the problem.  We may be feeding exploitation.
When you choose Fairtrade you are helping to make sure that the person who grew the banana you are eating or the coffee beans used to make your favourite cuppa, was paid fairly for their work.
There are over 1.65 million farmers and workers across more than 74 countries participating in Fairtrade.  Find out more about them here.
Watch the short film about Pablo, the Super Banana… it’s designed for young primary school children – but I learned a lot about Fairtrade too!
Watch the film Make Bananas Fair to discover more about Foncho, a banana farmer from Colombia and see how Fairtrade makes a real difference to the lives of Foncho, his family and their community.
It’s only 3 minutes long!  “Make Bananas Fair”
So why does CAFOD support Fairtrade?
Because CAFOD founded the Fairtrade Foundation in 1992 with Christian Aid, Oxfam, Traidcraft, the World Development Movement and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes.

We believe we are all part of the global food system – which means we have the power to change it.

Changing the food we buy and choosing products from Fairtrade companies is one of the ways we can help tackle poverty.  Learn more about CAFOD and Fairtrade.

Why not consider asking your parish to become a Fairtrade parish? 

And let’s not forget that Cardiff is the first Fairtrade capital city in the world!

With over 1500 Fairtrade towns and cities across the world, Cardiffians should be proud of this title which demonstrates that you’re capable of green, ethical living with fair outcomes for all.

If you are holding a coffee morning, Fairtrade stall or event, we’d love to hear from you.  Please send us a couple of sentences about your event and a photo, if you can, and we can tweet or add our support on Facebook.

Fairtrade Wales has organised a visit of their partner, Fr John Joseph on Sunday, 11 March at St Helen’s, Caerphilly. He will be at the 10.30 am. Mass.

Fr John Joseph is Chairman of the WOFFA Co-operative in India and is touring wales between 4-11 March.

Fr John founded WOFFA in 2008 with 400 small-scale farmers in the rural Wayanad region of Kerala, India, known for its panoramic views and the diversity of indigenous tribal communities.

The association arose out of the need to organise, gain knowledge and tackle social, economic and environmental challenges facing farming families.

Under his leadership, WOFFA has grown to almost 8,000 registered members – all certified Fairtrade and organic farmers – who are organised under 450 village groups. It is now the biggest organic and Fairtrade producer organisation in India.