First Creation Celebration Mass in Menevia

On Saturday 25 July Our Lady, Star of the Sea parish in Burry Port hosted a Creation Mass at their 6.30 evening service.  The celebrant was the parish priest Fr Martin Donnelly.  The church was transformed into the Garden of Eden by Fr Martin to reflect the beauty and wonder of creation. This included the altar being festooned with animals and clouds, the sun, the moon and stars provided by the local school being hung nearby.

As parishioners and invited guests arrived for the Saturday Vigil they witnessed the transformation and listened to bird song until Mass began.

Fr Martin explained the importance holding a special Creation Celebration Mass and remembering how God had entrusted the care of Creation to us.  He also stressed the importance of listening to Pope Francis; in Laudato Si‘ the Holy Father has described how our beautiful planet has been despoiled and exploited for profit. We all need to value Creation.

“Creation is the order of love.  God’s love is the fundamental moving force in all created things.”  Laudato Si #77

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Lent 2018 feedback – how your donations are saving lives in Zimbabwe…

When we donate to an appeal – Lent, Harvest or an emergency – or make a regular gift – we all want to know and trust that our money will reach the people who need it most.

Here’s how your compassion and generous support for our Lent appeal in 2018 when you donated a fantastic £4.3 million, which was doubled by the UK government through matched funding, is working to save lives in Zimbabwe.

Fiona and her two children in Zimbabwe (above) will receive a vegetable garden.

Since last year’s Lenten appeal, our local nutrition experts have been working hard to reach the most vulnerable people – children, pregnant women, breastfeeding Mums and older members of the community – and ensure they’re getting a good meal.

So far we’ve reached a total of 4,293 people. And we’re on track to reach 239,000 people across Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Zambia by the end of 2021.

One year on from our 2018 appeal, we revisit some of the people you met last year in Zimbabwe.

A vegetable garden for the Mudzemeti family

When we met Fiona, she was worried about her youngest son Pardon, who was showing signs of malnutrition. But Fiona and her husband Peter have just received the good news that their village will be receiving a vegetable garden.

Read more about Fiona

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Planning for Lent

With Lent starting next week, Ash Wednesday is 6 March, we’d like to invite volunteers in and around Cardiff to pop into our volunteer centre (North Chambers, Castle Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BX) on Thursday 7 March between 11 am-12.30pm to hear more about this year’s Family Fast Day appeal.

Throughout Lent we will be sharing the experience of Mahinur who is struggling with the changing weather.  Mahinur lives in Bangladesh.  She makes a living from fishing but a drought last year killed all the fish in the river that she lives next to and now she’s struggling to support her disabled husband, Khalek and her twelve year old son, Rabiul.

The changing weather is devastating lives.  Drought, floods and storms are having a catastrophic impact effect on some of the poorest members of our global family.

Hardest hit are vulnerable groups such as women and people with disabilities.  Both groups often live in extreme poverty and are excluded from job opportunities.  People with disabilities also face stigma.  The lack of support and income makes it harder for vulnerable people to prepare for disasters and to recover after disaster strikes.

The most vulnerable and disaster-prone regions within Bangladesh are the south and south-west coastal areas.  Mahinur is from the Patuakhali District on the wouthern coast.

Last year, your donations were match funded by the UK government and the projects started in October 2018.

“New nutrition projects in Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Zambia have  begun.  We’re on track to reach 239,000 people by the end of 2021!”   Thank you!

This Lent your donations will help ensure that no-one is beyond the reach of the love and care they need to flourish.

Jamal, our local expert, grew up in the same region as Mahinur and is an expert in farming and fishing.  He has already helped a few families her village, teaching them new farming techniques and distributing seeds, ducks and chickens.  But sadly there hasn’t been enough money available yet to help Mahinur.  And it’s a very sad fact that  we are currently forced to turn away one in three requests for help, simply because there isn’t enough money to go around.

On Friday 15 March, can you eat a simple meal in solidarity and give what you save to help us reach out to more families in desperate need of help?

Your generosity is a lifeline for women, men and children all over the world.  Thank you so much!

5 ways you can get involved:

  1. In your parish. Pin up our eye-catching poster and use our short talk to introduce the parish to Mahimur. If you would like to have someone speak at Mass, please contact us.  Get the children involved too by using our children’s liturgy and illustration for the first Sunday of Lent.
  2. Have a pancake party! Flip poverty on its head this Shrove Tuesday by challenging friends and family to pancake flipping competition. How many can you flip in 2 minutes? If everyone donates £2 to take part, your pancakes will make a big difference to families with nothing to eat.
  3. Pledge to eat soup this Family Fast Day! Have a simple soup meal and give what you save. Even better, gather a crowd and organise a soup-er fundraiser. We’ll send you a poster, guide and recipes… yummy.   Here’s a recipe for a simple lentil soup.
  4. Prayer can move mountains. Our prayers of intercession can be used at church, with your prayer group, your family or on your own in quiet reflection. You can also order our prayer card from the CAFOD shop.
  5. Share our video of Mahinur on Facebook and social media. Together we can spread the message of love our global neighbours to thousands of people across England and Wales.

If you can’t make this meeting, but you want to pop into the office to know more, please  get in touch with us on 02920 344882 or email us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAFOD’s Annual Review Summary (April 2017-March 2018)

If you have a spare moment, we invite you – our loyal volunteers and supporters, and any other interested parties who are visiting our blog – to take a look at our Annual Review which has been recently published.

You can see how the volunteering you commit to for us, transforms lives around the world.  Sometimes we hear people say, I am just putting up a poster or handing out Fast Day envelopes – it’s not much to ask.  With the greatest respect, we disagree!

The cover photo of the report (not the one above) shows: Fatema who is 18 at the Balukhali refugee camp in  Bangladesh.  Fatema had to flee Myanmar after her home was burnt down and her husband killed by the military. More than 600,000 Rohingya have been forced from their country, often with no possessions and with nowhere safe to travel to, in order to save their lives and those of their families. Countless more who were unable or unwilling to leave have been killed.

But thanks to your support, CAFOD, with our local Church partner Caritas Bangladesh, were able to respond to this crisis by providing emergency food, shelter and sanitation supplies to those in desperate need.

This report details how your contributions enable CAFOD to help millions of people like Fatema each year, and celebrates the transformational change your prayers, actions and donations help bring about.

We want to share just how valuable your contribution is to our work.  Thank you.

 

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

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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Protection of Creation celebrated at Penarth & Dinas Powys

Parishioners from St Joseph’s parish in Penarth and St Mary’s parish in Dinas Powys, came together on Wednesday 3 October to mark the end of Creation time which ran until 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi.

This is an ecumenical season dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles and this dedicated group of volunteers organised a Prayer Vigil and invited other local denominations to join their celebration.

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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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Upcoming events

We don’t usually publish an Ebulletin in August as so many people are away, but we thought that it would be useful to give you an early heads up of dates for forthcoming events.

Saturday 1  September Day of reflection at Ty Croeso Centre, Llantarnam  Abbey from 11 am to 4 pm.  (Coffee from 10.30 am).  Free event, please bring a packed lunch.  We are meeting on  the 4th World  Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation – as instituted by Pope Francis. 

Sunday 9 September– Share the Journey walk following Mass at Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs, Hereford.

Monday 17 September – Education Refresher Day in the Mostyn Room (next to St David’s Cathedral in Cardiff) 10-4 pm.  Existing and potential new School volunteers explore the Family Fast Day resources.

Friday 21 September – Share the Journey walk at The Priory of Our Lady & St Michael, 10 Pen-y-Pound, Abergavenny NP7 5UD

Saturday 22 September – CAFOD Supporter Day at Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Promenade Terrace, Mumbles SA3 4DR.  We have requested a speaker for the event, tbc.

Saturday 29 September –  CAFOD Supporter Day at Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs in Hereford, following on from the Soup Kitchen (12-2) starting at 2.30-4 pm. We have requested a speaker for the event tbc.

Friday 5 October – CAFOD Family Fast Day

Saturday 6 October – Oscar Romero talk by Clare Dixon.  Clare has been Head of CAFOD’s Latin America programmes for nearly 40 years – and since its inception in 2005 she has been Secretary of the Archbishop Romero Trust.  Join us at The Cornerstone, Cardiff (opposite St David’s Cathedral)  Time 7 pm (following Mass in the Cathedral at 5.30 pm).

14 October – Canonisation of Oscar Romero

Tuesday 16 OctoberCAFOD Education training Day 1 for new schools volunteers 10 am – 4 pm.  The Quaker Meeting House in Cardiff (past St David’s Cathedral and the Cornerstone and keep walking). If you are interested in joining our schools volunteer team, please contact southwales@cafod.org.uk

Wednesday 24 October – Talk by Barbara Davies on the peace process in Colombia and an update on Hands On. 12 noon at The Temple of Peace, King Edward VII Ave, Cardiff CF10 3AP

Saturday 10 November – Campaign retreat day at Downside Abbey (10-4 pm). Countering Consumerism: Lessons from Gaudete et Exsultate. All welcome.  Book here.

Monday 12 NovemberMemorial Mass for the Diocese of Menevia at St David’s Priory  Church, Swansea at 12.30 pm.   All welcome.

Sunday 18 November – World Day of the Poor

Monday 19 November Memorial Mass for the Cardiff Archdiocese at St Helen’s Church, Nantagarew Road, Caerphilly CF83 3FB at 7 pm.  All welcome.

Tuesday 27 November – CAFOD Education Training Day 2  (10-4) in the Mostyn Room, adjacent to St David’s Cathedral in Cardiff.

Thursday 29 November – Campaign Retreat Day of Reflection for parish and campaign volunteers – Ty Croeso Centre, Llantarnam Abbey (11-4). Please bring a packed lunch.  All welcome.  Please let us know if you are able to attend.  Tel: 02920 344882 or email southwales@cafod.org.uk

Driving rain, high winds for Share the Journey in West Wales

August has been the month when a number of parishes around the Archdiocese have chosen to hold their Share the Journey walks.

And we could all be forgiven for thinking that Saturday 11 August would be a wonderfully warm Summer afternoon, after the heat-wave the UK had been experiencing in the previous weeks.

However, CAFOD supporters from the parishes of St Michael’s in St David’s and Holy Cross in Fishguard woke up to lashing rain and high winds off the coast of Pembrokeshire on the morning of their walk of solidarity to raise awareness of the plight of refugees and migrants in the run up to UN talks and new compacts due to be agreed in September and December this year.

A band of intrepid walkers, led by Naomi and Esther, set off from the towering cliffs which sandwich the small, rocky cove of Caerfai Bay situated about one mile south of the beautiful and popular city of St David’s.  It’s the smallest city in the UK and earns its status as a city from the magnificent cathedral of St David’s which was built in the twelfth century on the banks of the River Alun.

The scheduled walk along the coastal path from Caerfai Bay, buffeted by driving rain and strong winds, to the isolated, spiritual retreat of St. Non’s.

A truly wonderful place.

In a windswept field off the Pembroke coastal path we were able to see the ruins of St Non’s ancient chapel.  St Non was the mother of St David.  There is a small shrine dedicated to her in the corner of the field.  A covered well is also there which would have been essential to the local community back in the sixth century.  Everything is beautifully tended and cared for.

Sisters of Mercy run the St Non’s retreat centre and they gave us all a warm welcome and treated us to a lovely hot cuppa and a selection of very welcome biscuits.   Close by is a tiny chapel built in the 1930s. It’s door is always open and it boast ancient relics that have been rescued from neighbouring cowsheds!

This part of south-west Wales created the Welcome Fishguard Community Sponsorship Group which was one of first towns to respond to a UK scheme first announced in July 2016 by then Home Affairs Minister, Amber Rudd and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

 

The scheme adopted a new approach to refugee resettlement in the UK which aims to prevent refugee families from feeling isolated and struggling to adapt to their new surroundings which can lead to higher rates of unemployment, stress, depression and other problems.

Under this new UK Community Sponsorship program, local groups agree to sponsor refugee families and help them integrate into life in the UK. They help their new families find housing, access medical and social services, arrange English language tuition, and support them with employment, leading to self-sufficiency.

Community sponsorship enables local people to take responsibility for resettling a refugee family, supporting and empowering them to rebuild their lives.

In Wales, there are thirteen community groups already sponsoring families. Under the umbrella of Hiraeth Hope, Fishguard residents have worked with others in Haverfordwest and Narbeth to sponsor Syrian families.  Groups have also formed in Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Cardigan.

Hiraeth Hope was set up in 2015 to connect groups in towns across Wales who wanted to sponsor refugee families under the community settlement programme.

A note on their website says that being inclusive and generous is part of Welsh culture: “the Welsh language word for “Welsh” is “Cymro” which means “one of us.”  These towns are living up to the heritage of inclusiveness.

We are lobbying the UK government to put human dignity at the centre of the new UN agreements on Refugees and Migration.    A united, global response from world leaders is needed to reflect the following:

  1. Respect human dignity
  2. Protect the vulnerable
  3. Support host countries
  4. Keep families together
  5. Tackle the reasons for migration

It’s not too late to organise a card signing in your parish.  You can sign our petition to the UK government.  We are hoping that more of you will organise a simple walk around your church grounds to show your solidarity with people who are forced to flee their home through war, persecution, poverty or climate change.   Debunk the myths with our factsheet.

Lastly, thank you to everyone who braved the elements to #ShareJourney