World Day of the Poor

In his message for the second World Day of the Poor, celebrated this Sunday, 18 November, Pope Francis asks  us all, whatever our means or background, to rediscover and celebrate in a spirit of joy our capacity for togetherness, for example by sharing a meal after Sunday Mass.

‘On this day, may all of us feel that we are in debt to the poor, because,  in hands outstretched to one another, a salvific encounter can take place to strengthen our faith, inspire our charity and enable our hope to advance securely on our path towards the Lord who is to come.’

We are called to examine our conscience to see if we can truly hear and respond to the cry of the poor in our world.  In our communities, we are invited to offer friendship, solidarity and welcome to the poorest of our sisters and brothers.

Why not watch and share Vladimir from Bolivia’s prayer video with your friends and family.   If you are sharing a meal, why not use this Grace for those who hunger.

It is my wish that Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance.”  Pope Francis

You can read Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of the Poor here. And there is a special Prayer Card for the day.  If you hold an event in your parish, please let us know and send us a photo too if possible.

Memorial Mass for Menevia

P1180203On Monday 12 November our Memorial Mass for the Menevia Diocese took place at St David’s Priory in Swansea. We are very grateful to Canon Michael Flook for celebrating such a beautiful Mass which was an opportunity to come together and remember all those who have died and who continue to touch our lives.

Huge thanks to our wonderful parish volunteers, Stuart, Sally and Mary who ensured that readers, music and refreshments were all organised. It was lovely to see parishioners and supporters from parishes across the Swansea deanery who joined us. Continue reading

10 year anniversary of the Climate Change Act – send a birthday card to your MP


 

Ten years ago, MPs came together to pass a ground-breaking law: the Climate Change Act.  The law was the first of its kind and showed that the UK was serious about tackling climate change.

However, ten years on, we know that we need to be going much further and faster with our emissions cuts if we are going to limit the word effects of climate change.

We need to set a net zero target before 2050, this means only producing the same amount of greenhouse gases that we take in.

A group of MPs have already come together to ask for this by signing a letter.  But if we are going to set a new target, we need more MPs to sign up.

Please click on the link here to sign a card to your MP and ask them to be a Zero Hero.
We will add your name, along with others in your constituency, and deliver it to them. Continue reading

Oscar Romero and CAFOD

Archbishop Oscar Romero gave his life, in the words of Pope John Paul II, “for the Church and the people of his beloved country” of El Salvador.

Until his assassination, Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980) of San Salvador spoke out courageously in defence of human rights and social justice in strife-torn El Salvador.

Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez was born in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, on August 15, 1917. One of ten children. He was apprenticed to a local carpenter when he was 13 years old but he felt a vocation for the priesthood.  He left home the following year to enter the seminary and was ordained in 1942.

Romero spent the first twenty-five years of his ministry as a parish priest and diocesan secretary in San Miguel. In 1970 he became auxiliary bishop of San Salvador where he remained for four years until 1974 when the Vatican named him to the see of Santiago de María, a poor, rural diocese which included the town he grew up in.

In 1977 he returned to San Salvador to succeed Archbishop Luis Chávez y González, who had retired after almost 40 years in office.

Oscar Romero was living in a period of dramatic change in the Church in Latin America.

As Clare Dixon, Head of CAFOD in Latin America told us in the Cornerstone in Cardiff on Saturday 6 October, the region’s bishops, had met at Medellín in Colombia, in 1967 to discuss how to implement the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), locally.

Canon Peter Collins and CAFOD supporters and J & P campaigners at The Cornerstone in Cardiff to hear Clare Dixon, CAFOD’s Head of Programme in Latin America for almost 40 years.

El Salvador was an extremely conservative society where a privileged few enjoyed enormous wealth at the expense of the very impoverished majority. Some younger priests recognized the injustice and imbalance of this situation and sided with the poor but the lone voice of encouragement in their efforts came from Archbishop Chávez y González.

During this period Oscar Romero was seen as a conservative and sometimes sceptical of both the Vatican II reforms and the Medellin pronouncements.

So when he was appointed Archbishop in 1977, he was not a popular choice with the politically active clergy, who saw his appointment as preserving the status quo in a safe pair of hands.

However, Romero emerged almost immediately as an outspoken opponent of injustice and fearless defender of the poor and suffering.

Romero himself said that he owed his change of attitude to his time as Bishop of Santiago de María, where he witnessed firsthand the suffering of El Salvador’s landless poor.

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Hands on for Peace in Colombia

We are delighted to have Barbara Davies, our colleague in CAFOD who works as country representative for Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, will be giving a presentation on the peace process in Colombia at The Temple of Peace in Cardiff on Wednesday 24 October at 12 noon.

Barbara has been working on peace and development issues for over a decade across South America. Originally from Penarth, one of the first campaigns she worked on was to create a solidarity and awareness raising link between Wales and Colombia, highlighting the civil war that was taking place there and the amount of people displaced by the conflict.

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Catholic Schools across the Archdiocese Brighten up for Harvest

Pupils at St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School, Swansea

Over the past few weeks, many schools from across the Archdiocese of Cardiff have been taking part in CAFOD’s Brighten Up for Harvest appeal.

Sadly, due to poverty and injustice, this harvest will not be bright for millions of children and young people around the world who will miss out on food, clean water and even on going to school.

But support from our Catholic schools is helping to change this and help to make the world a brighter place for communities living in extreme poverty as they find ways to overcome their many challenges.

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Ymprydio, gweddio a rhoi / Fast, pray and give

 “Ni ddylai neb yfed dwr mor fudr a hyn” “No-one should drink water this dirty”

… was the message for our Harvest Fast Day appeal this year.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to our parishes, supporters and wonderful volunteers who attended our Fast Day briefings, helped to get our message into parish newsletters, put up posters, held a simple Soup Lunch, fasted, gave the short talk at Mass, distributed and collected the Fast Day envelopes – prayed and supported us in any way this Harvest Fast Day.

Diolch! Bydd eich rhodd yn achub bywydau

Thank you!  Your gift will save lives.

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Campaign volunteers in Wales donated shoes for refugee art installation

Back in the middle of August hundreds of shoes were displayed on the square in front of and up the steps to Westminster Cathedral.  Why?  To demonstrate how many Catholics around the country were speaking out in support of Pope Francis’ refugee campaign: Share the Journey.

Two of our long-standing CAFOD Campaign volunteers: John Fellows (Cardiff) and Stella Westmacott (Menevia) each donated a pair of their own shoes to be part of the art installation which saw their shoes alongside 300 shoes sourced from refugees.

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Arms wide open in welcome at Our Lady’s in Hereford

The parish of Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs in Hereford held their Share the Journey walk after early Mass on Sunday 9 September.

At the end of Mass, CAFOD’s Share the journey presentation was shown to the congregation and the silence in church was palpable and powerful as myths were debunked and the reality of the journeys some of our brothers and sisters are forced to make were starkly laid bare.

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Sharing the journey with refugees in Brecon

On a lovely sunny afternoon in the middle of August, parishioners from St Michael’s parish in Brecon, were joined in a Share the Journey walk by a number of refugees linked to Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees which was formed in 2015.

The group then joined the national City of Sanctuary movement: which is comprised of over 60 local groups which are committed to developing a “culture of welcome and inclusion” for people seeking sanctuary in the United Kingdom.

Father Jimmy Pulickakunnel, parish priest at St Michael’s led the group in prayer at the start of the walk.   Local CAFOD volunteer, Jean Ruston was the main organiser of the event and had chosen an accessible, peaceful walk through the beautiful and historic town of Brecon and along the banks of the River Honddu which joins the River Usk in the centre of town.

What is the Share the Journey campaign? #sharejourney

The Share the Journey campaign has at its heart the vision of a united global family.  The focus is on our joint journey as people on the move in departure, transit and host communities.

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