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.

 

Do you know your local MP? Interested in influencing their decisions? We need you!

We are on a bit of a mission to recruit more people who are willing to write to their local MP a few times a year.

These wonderful people are called MP correspondents or MPCs in CAFOD speak.

Your local MP is your link to Parliament. They influence decisions which affect the future of the world’s poorest people.

By agreeing to become a CAFOD MPC, you can raise your voice to ensure that the voices of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people are heard in the corridors of power.

We know that Campaigning works. It’s  powerful because it addresses injustice and poverty head on.

Through letters and meetings with MPs, CAFOD supporters have already helped change government policy. We’ve helped secure tough laws to tackle climate change, and ensure the UK is a world leader in its overseas aid contribution.

And it’s thanks to many of you that we’ve also witnessed some historic breakthroughs.

In making your voices heard to your local MP, campaigners are invaluable in supporting CAFOD’s work.

As Adrian Chiles, put it so succinctly:  “At CAFOD we always keep in mind the millions of people around the world still fighting and dying for the rights that we’re exercising here…. We should never take those rights for granted.

“We need our political leaders and MPs to come together and do everything in their power to try to tackle the big issues that affect us all. And we can all do our bit, not just by voting but by speaking to our MPs, marching, signing petitions, doing anything we can to make sure the voices of the poorest communities in the world are heard.”

So we are appealing for more people to come forward and sign up to become an MPC to make sure that our neighbours around the world are kept on the political agenda and not forgotten.

So what is involved?

CAFOD MP Correspondents (MPC) write to their MP to raise awareness and understanding of the causes of poverty and justice.  This is normally linked to CAFOD campaigns – but not always. By writing a letter a few times a year, correspondents start to build a personal connection with their MP and are able to get their attention and give them a mandate to act.

MPCs cover about 80% of the constituencies, that is over 450 MPs. This has enormous potential to influence international and domestic policy.

If you are looking to put your faith into action, but feel you are short of time, then this is the ideal role for you!

When you sign up to be an MPC you will receive letters or emails from us – three or four times a year only, asking you to contact your MP when you can make a real difference.

You can download our helpful MP Correspondent Guide which tells you how to get in touch with your MP and gives you our top lobbying tips.

Letters and emails to MPs have a huge impact, especially when they are personalised and you say why you care about the issue.  MPs know that if one of their constituents writes to them on an issue, there are at least ten others who do care, but don’t have time to put pen to paper.

So your help and your voice really does make a difference.

Download our handy guide to lobbying your MP

To register your interest, sign up here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to fill in your details.  If you want to chat things through, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or call the South Wales volunteer centre on 02920 344 882.  We’d love to hear from you.

Christmas greetings to all in Cardiff and Menevia

S Wales CAFOD volunteers

CAFOD volunteers get together to enjoy a Christmas lunch and chew the fat over a busy 2016.

Merry Christmas to all of our friends across the dioceses of Cardiff and Menevia.

On Monday 12 December, we were very pleased to welcome some of our wonderful volunteers to the Cardiff Volunteer Centre to participate in a short Advent service and enjoy a festive lunch.

A dozen of some of our most dedicated volunteers were in attendance and it was a wonderful opportunity to get together and discuss all that has gone on in our parishes and schools in 2016. It was great to catch up with some familiar faces and share our experiences of supporting CAFOD over the last year. Continue reading