CAFOD joins DEC Coronavirus Appeal

CAFOD has joined forces with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to help millions of vulnerable people, whose lives are at risk as the Coronavirus pandemic spreads – and we are inviting communities and parishes across England and Wales to get involved.

Donate to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal

CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, said:

“In the UK, our struggle against coronavirus has entered the next phase, but in many of the world’s poorest communities, the fight has only just begun.”

Donate to the DEC Coronavirus appeal today

Millions of families living in crowded camps or makeshift shelters are having to face the coronavirus with little access to running water, soap, or medical aid.

Families who have been forced to flee their homes in places like Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic of Congo, are especially vulnerable.

Continue reading

Why is everyone talking about the Department for International Development (DfID)?

In 2017, CAFOD supporters spoke to MPs

Last week, the government announced that it was planning to merge the Department for International development and the Foreign Office.

Faith charities and international development aid agencies alike were saddened by the decision, calling it ‘seriously misguided’.

CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, said:

“Our support for our brothers and sisters living in poverty shouldn’t be contingent on what we as Britain can get out of it – we must have a clear distinction between our aid budget and money spent on British interests.

“Increasingly issues such as climate change, the destruction of nature, and the spread of Covid-19 demonstrate unequivocally that global issues can only be tackled through increased global cooperation, and that progress can be reversed through retreating into approaches based on national interest.”

CAFOD joined forced with other leading faith charities across the country to put out a statement, which you can read here.

Christine wrote to The Daily Telegraph letter’s section, writing:

“As UK Aid is spent by more and more departments, the UK government must commit to the highest levels of transparency across the whole portfolio.

“We need to see a levelling up, not a levelling down, in the accountability of UK aid.”

The full letter is published here.

We also heard from our international partners, concerned by the decision, including the Reverend George Cosmos Zumaire Lungu of the Diocese of Chipata, in Zambia, wrote to the Prime Minister about the decision.

Dennis, 17, on his grandmother’s farmland in Mbala, Zambia

We will make sure to keep you updated as the situation develops, and you can keep up to date on the latest developments by following our social media channels : Facebook and Twitter 

COVID-19 update

Thank you for your patience while we take on board the changing situation with COVID-19 and the incredibly important role you play in support of our development and humanitarian work.

Thanks to your compassion and commitment, we can reach some of the poorest and marginalised communities around the world.

CAFOD is following the advice issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales (CBCEW) as well as the UK government.

All the latest information about CAFOD’s response to COVID-19 will be on our Coronavirus Q & A and COVID-19: Information for volunteers pages.

Get in touch: Your usual office contacts are still be available by mobile phone, email and via social media, so if you have any questions or thoughts do not hesitate to be in touch whatever your query:

Therese Warwick: 01989 768708, mobile: 07823 445112 or email: southwales@cafod.org.uk

If you’re a parent, we have a large range of online education resources tailored specifically for primary and secondary ages, alongside worship and prayer content.

If you’re looking to learn more about CAFOD’s international work, we will be releasing a weekly timetable of online talks.

Meet us online: 
While we can’t meet face to face we would love to see you online.

Stories from Cyclone Idai – What happened next?
Wednesday 15 April, 1-2pm

Join CAFOD’s Tiago Coucelo to hear how, with your support, local workers are helping some of the remotest rural communities to rebuild their shattered lives.

Register to join us live, or listen later.

Continue your Lenten journey with us
Use our resources to continue on your Lenten journey.

Feel-good stories

If you are a CAFOD volunteer and hear of a great story in your local parish – please let us know so we can share it on our social media channels and website.

It would be great if you would be able to email over a few sentences about what happened, along with a photo.

Prayer for the Coronavirus

Even though the volunteer centres are temporarily shut, we hope to be able to continue to offer opportunities to connect with the lives of our sisters and brothers around the world.

Please keep an eye of our social media pages for the latest updates:

Facebook  and Twitter

In the meantime, we continue to pray for all those affected by the COVID-19 virus and the healthcare workers here in the UK and overseas, who are on the frontline of this crisis – and ask that you too join us in keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.

 

Feast day of Saint Oscar Romero

CAFOD celebrates the life of its former partner, Saint Oscar Romero, who continues to inspire our work 40 years on from his death.

Find prayers and reflections inspired by Oscar Romero

Who was Oscar Romero?

  • Beatified on 23 May 2015
  • Centenary of his birth marked on 15 August 2017
  • On 7 March 2018 Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to him, clearing the way for Romero to be canonised
  • Officially recognised as a saint in a ceremony on 14 October 2018
  • Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador from 1977 until he was assassinated in 1980.
  • He was initially regarded as a conservative choice as archbishop, but he became increasingly outspoken about human rights violations in El Salvador – particularly after the murder of his close friend Father Rutilio Grande in March 1977.

During his three years as archbishop, Romero repeatedly denounced violence and spoke out on behalf of the victims of the civil war. In a time of heavy press censorship, his weekly radio broadcasts were often the only way people could find out the truth about the atrocities that were happening in their country. He defended the right of the poor to demand political change, a stance which made him a troublesome adversary for the country’s rulers.

Continue reading

Retired South Wales Teacher Receives Blessing From Pope for 25 Years of Volunteering

sandra davies

On Sunday 6th October, Sandra Davies was awarded a Papal Blessing in recognition of her dedicated volunteering and commitment to CAFOD.

Sandra Davies presented with an unexpected Papal Blessing

A former Port Talbot teacher, Sandra Davies, has been presented with an award from Pope Francis for her 25 years of volunteering and helping to educate others on development issues. To the surprise and delight of the congregation, Fr Neil Evans presented the award on behalf of Pope Francis at the end of Sunday Mass on Sunday 6th October at St Joseph’s Church in Neath.

The church was beautifully decorated for Harvest and over 70 parishioners, keen to support Sandra and all she has done, attended Mass, which was beautifully led by pupils from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Neath. There was joyous singing, thanksgiving hymns, contributions for the local food bank and a superb celebration cake made by a fellow parishioner, Desiree Nicholas.

Sandra davies 3 (1)

Thanking Sandra’s meaningful and life-saving work

After Mass, Sandra shared her experience of volunteering with us and thanked everyone who attended. She was described by our South Wales representative, Therese Warwick, as “a very modest and self-effacing person with a heart of gold who has quietly got on with supporting Fr Neil Evans”. We are incredibly grateful for her unwavering support over the years.

“Sandra has a long history of working to educate children and young people about issues that affect global communities – and has helped people in the local community to better understand the issues that are facing some of the poorest communities around the world.”

From everyone at CAFOD, we want to say a massive congratulations to Sandra for her Papal Blessing- it is truly well-deserved.

We wouldn’t be able to continue our work around the world without admirable volunteers like Sandra. She has done everything from speaking at school to fundraising, taking part in charity events and campaigning, and it was wonderful to see everyone support her on this special day.

Sandra davies 2

How can you get involved?

We have over 5,000 volunteers across England and Wales who help to educate, campaign and raise their voice on issues affecting some of the poorest communities in the world. Whether you have been with us for years or you’re just starting your journey, get involved by visiting cafod.org.uk/volunteering or email southwales@cafod.org.uk.

We welcome our new media volunteer Bethan

It is my first day as a volunteer for CAFOD, South Wales and I look forward to this journey and the opportunities it brings!

My name is Bethan Fry, I am a 20-year-old student, originally from Pontypool. I’m in my second year at the University of South Wales working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. As someone who is very passionate about campaigning and influencing others, I’m hoping that my time at CAFOD will give me the experience and platform to raise awareness for global issues and put me on the right track to making a change. Continue reading

Talk in Cwmbran – Head of International Operations

Head of International Operations shares her stories of hope through her everyday work in CAFOD.

On Saturday 23 March, we welcome Fionuala Murray to Our Lady of the Angels, in Cwmbran, who will be relaying our aims to tackle the cause of poverty, as well as sharing her own experience of managing our overseas operations.   Continue reading

Meet our newest volunteer Charlotte!

Today marks my first day as a volunteer for CAFOD South Wales and I look forward to seeing what the next few weeks will bring!

My name is Charlotte Kay, I am 21 years old and grew up in Preston, Lancashire. Whilst undertaking my volunteer work, I am also completing the final year of my Religious Studies and Philosophy degree at Cardiff University. During my time here, I am hoping to get involved in the media side of CAFOD, including writing news stories about current events within CAFOD South Wales. Additionally, I am also hoping to develop our social media presence to ultimately increase the readership on online news and communication outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook.

I decided to get involved in CAFOD due to both my university degree course and personal influences. Since September, I have been studying a ‘Religion in the Workplace’ module which encouraged students to engage in a placement within a local charity or faith organisation. This gave me an opportunity to get in touch with CAFOD South Wales to improve my understanding of the work they do both in the UK and overseas. Additionally, it allowed me to dedicate my time to raise awareness of current issues and to further promote CAFOD online. Also, for several years now, parts of my family and school peers have had connections with CAFOD Lancaster which inspired me to build upon their knowledge by getting involved in a different volunteering region.

I look forward to continuing my volunteer work here at CAFOD and I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside the dedicated people within the charity. Also, I hope to learn more about the many inspirational people that CAFOD helps, both here and around the world, by shaping and improving their lives.

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading