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

Bishop Thomas Matthew Burns launches Share the Journey campaign in Menevia

Earlier this month, Bishop Thomas Matthew Burns of the Diocese of Menevia added his support to Pope Francis’ call for the need to build relationships between migrants, refugees and local communities.

Bishop Tom endorsed Share the Journey, the global campaign launched by the Holy Father in September last year, as he joined other world leaders and bishops in making the “Reach Out” gesture of welcome – which is at the heart of the campaign – stretching his arms out wide.

“Hope is what drives the hearts of those who depart… it is also what drives the hearts of those who welcome: the desire to meet each other, get to know each other, to dialogue.”  Pope Francis.

 

The Share the Journey campaign is being supported by more than 200 Catholic organisations around the world.  CAFOD and Caritas Social Action in England and Wales (CSAN) and Caritas sisters agencies in over 40 countries.

The campaign is calling on all governments, and us, as individuals, to play our part in welcoming and protecting people who are forced to flee their own homes because of persecution, poverty and emergencies.

Inspired by Pope Francis’ special concern for people on the move, we are asking the people of England and Wales to step up and make their voices heard as world leaders draw up ambitious new UN agreements (compacts) on migration and refugees in September and December of this year.    There are many resources available to support you, but one of the easiest ways to add your voice is by signing the online petition.

 “If we bond with refugees and migrants, we will break down the barriers with which some are trying to separate us. The campaign reaches out to recognise, restore and share our common humanity.”   Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis

To support the campaign we are attempting to walk 24,900 miles – the distance around the whole world.  We are hoping that many parishes across the Menevia diocese will get involved in this act of solidarity, to Share the Journey with our global neighbours fleeing their homes.

Bishop Thomas Matthew Burns with Fr Mansel Usher at The Mumbles

Every step you take, together with others from across the country, will send a message to world leaders that we want them to step up too; to act with courage and compassion.

To learn more about the Catholic church’s response to the refugee crisis, CAFOD has produced a useful factsheet.  And here are some frequently asked questions about the refugee crisis.

If you want to get involved, you can download a copy of the Share the Journey organiser’s guide to get all the information you need.   And there are free campaign (cards) which you can order or please get in touch with us and we can support you as much as possible.

One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves as individuals, communities and countries at this time of mass movements of people and global doubt is ‘Do I allow fear to prevail in my heart, or do I allow hope to reign?’

“Through ‘Share the Journey’ we hope to dispel fear and understand why so many people are leaving their homes at this time in history.  We also want to inspire communities to build relationships with refugees and migrants.  We want to shine a light and lead the way.  Migration is a very old story but our campaign aims to help communities see it with new eyes and an open heart.” Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila

You may want to know more about the position of the Catholic Church in England  and Wales on the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe?

I hope this helps: CAFOD’s mandate from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is to support poor communities overseas.  CSAN (the Catholic Social Action Network) is the social action arm of the Catholic Church for work in England and Wales.  Their members support refugees who have already arrived in the UK, and they do advocacy work on poverty in the UK.  Together CAFOD and CSAN form Caritas England and Wales.

Both organisations support the Share the Journey campaign.

 

Share The Journey in Herefordshire

Representatives of the Herefordshire deanery parishes including Fr Matthew and Fr Simon

The Herefordshire deanery of parishes attended a presentation on Share the Journey, followed by Mass at Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs in Hereford on Tuesday, 8 May.

Our thanks to the Dean, Fr Matthew Carney for his kind hospitality and welcome.

Share the Journey is a global campaign launched by Pope Francis in Autumn 2017. The Holy Father is hoping that each and every one of us will step up and show our support for refugees and migrants.

The meeting was called to give more background to the campaign and what it is calling for and to ask our supporters and their fellow parishioners to get together to organise a walk in their individual parish – to show solidarity with our neighbours who are fleeing their homes.

Every step we each take, together in our parishes, with our fellow townspeople, with other faith groups, will send a message to world leaders that we want them to step up too.

The aim is to walk 24,900 miles around the world – it isn’t as difficult as you might imagine… you don’t have to attempt the strenuous Pen y Fan and Corn Du circular walk or the Black Hill (Crib y Garth) in the Black Mountains in Herefordshire… you can just walk inside your church, around the pews, slowly, in pairs – holding the CAFOD action card in your hand, to guide your conversation.

You might walk around the church a couple of times – you might achieve half a mile each, but with a group of people, all walking together, the miles will soon add up…

The action cards include a story, prayers and questions for reflection; a message to send to the Prime Minister, Theresa May, calling for global agreements which put the human dignity of people on the move at their heart.

You can download a Share the Journey Organiser’s guide and if you order any of the petition cards, you will be sent a copy of the organiser’s guide automatically.

There is an informative Share the Journey factsheet with all the information you need at your fingertips to get started and which you can share with your fellow parishioners.

There is a short talk available, if you are able to say a few words after Mass about the campaign and a generic poster which you can also use to spread the message to as wide an audience as possible.

If you are thinking of inviting your MP, then why not take a look at this template for ideas which you can then personalise.

Some of our supporters who write to their MPs 3 or 4 times a year – before a reception at Parliament – talking about Share the Journey with their MP

If you would like us to come along to your parish to give a short presentation on the campaign, we would be delighted to support you.

Lastly, if your parish is getting involved – please, please let us know when and where!

We are here to help publicise your good work and we want to do that as effectively as possible.

You might like to think about holding a walk or card signing during Refugee Week which is from 16-24 June.  Some frequently asked questions can be found here.

Here is the link to our Facebook page and please follow us on Twitter too.

There is a Share the Journey online petition here which you can sign. Please encourage others to do the same.  Thank you.

Here’s the Health and Safety guide for your walk.

If you can’t get together with others to organise a walk, please can we encourage you to organise a petition card signing event after Mass.

Don’t forget to send us any photos you take, and if you have enough time, a few details about what motivated you to get involved and raise your voice in solidarity?

 

 

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.

Continue reading

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