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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Cyclone Idai appeal – Diolch yn fawr iawn

CAFOD is a founding member of the DEC (The Disasters Emergency Committee).

The DEC brings 14 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis to provide and deliver aid.

 

The DEC responds to disasters in the world’s poorest countries,using a set of criteria to help it decide when to launch an appeal and how it can be most effective. 

The 14 member agencies are experts in humanitarian aid, delivering effective disaster response and swift humanitarian assistance to those that need it most. 

The decisions about how your donations are allocated to each member agency when a disaster strikes are taken in advance, based on each charity’s ability to deliver aid where it is needed.

The DEC makes certain that how it spends your money ensures that communities receive the urgent humanitarian aid required, as well as long term support to rebuild their lives after a disaster.

So we’d like to say a heartfelt thank you for your extremely generous support for the DEC Cyclone Idai appeal – in parishes and in schools.  It’s truly humbling.

As of 7 April the DEC and its member charities had raised over £29 million for people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi who have been affected by Cyclone Idai.

Thank you too to people in Wales who donated to DEC Cymru – raising over £850,000.

Sadly more than 1000 people have lost their lives and and almost 3 million people are affected.  And now Mozambique has confirmed 3,100 cases of cholera and six deaths. A huge vaccination programme is underway.

Listen to a live report from Gabriele Bertani CAFOD’s  country representative speaking from Maputo on the situation on the ground, our intervention and challenges affecting the lives of millions of people.

Just click on the link below to listen to the recording.

Direct webinar link to register is: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/986376677044844034

This will be a long-term aid effort to help families to start to rebuild their lives.

Please consider donating to CAFOD’s Cyclone Idai emergency appeal. 

Please continue to pray for all those affected by this disaster.

O Lord, be near to your people now,
as they face devastation and loss.
Stay close to those who are broken-hearted
and hold fast to those whose spirit is crushed.

Lead us and guide us for our hope rests in you.
Inspire us to reach out
and answer the cries of those in need.

So that those who mourn may be comforted,
those who are frightened find courage,
those who hunger and thirst may be satisfied
and those who are homeless find refuge.

O God, make haste,
hear the cry of your people,
help us, our shield, our strength and our rock.

We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

Schools giving it up to transform lives

Yr 4 from St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School in Swansea presenting the Give It Up assembly to the whole school!

Pupils from across the Archdiocese of Cardiff (including Menevia & Herefordshire) have given up some of their favourite things this Lent to help communities around the world who have been affected by climate change, as part of this year’s Give It Up Lent fundraising campaign.

In assemblies presented by our wonderful school volunteer team, children heard about the challenges that Mahinur and her family in Bangladesh are facing.

Mahinur lives by a river with her husband Khalek and 12-year-old son Rabiul, who both have disabilities. She relies on fishing in the river to support her family, but last year it dried up and all the fish died.

The fish have not returned. Some days the family just drink water for dinner. This is not right. God has given enough resources on this planet for everyone.

No one should go hungry.  So how how to inspire children to recognise need and to be motivated to help?

The idea is a simple one:  choose something, give it up and donate the money saved to CAFOD. Continue reading

Wales has its warmest winter days on record – should we be concerned?

Last year we were facing the worst end of the Beast of the East, this year we’re sunbathing in parks during a winter heatwave. The average maximum temperature for February is 7°C but this year we’ve seen highs of 20.3°C. Although nobody is complaining about the warmer weather, should we be worried that this could be the prolonged effects of climate change?

Warmer weather means that ice sheets and glaciers are melting, this adds water to the sea and then causes flooding during heavy showers – damaging our homes and our landscapes. While the Met Office has stated that the drastic changes in weather cannot be directly linked to climate change, human activity can be playing a major role.

Air pollution is a factor that contributes massively to climate change. When the air becomes polluted, it impacts the health of people, animals and vegetation. The main greenhouse gas emission that experts worry about is carbon dioxide which gets released when we burn fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas. There are a number of industrial factories across Wales that all contribute to air pollution and studies show that living in heavily polluted areas often leave locals with health problems from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses to added stress to the heart and the lungs. Port Talbot Steelworks has impacted the community so much that the town has been named the most polluted in the UK.

But climate change isn’t something that happens overnight, it’s a long-term shift in our normal weather patterns – which is why everyone must take action now and achieve net zero in order to prevent some of the more catastrophic results. ‘Net zero’ means only putting the same amount of emissions into the atmosphere as we take out.

So should we be concerned? The weather on our shared planet is changing drastically. We’re seeing wildlife and plants appearing much earlier than they should and though we may all be enjoying the sunny afternoons, we may be paying the price in years to come. It threatens not only the homes and health of animals but also our homes, health, agriculture and infrastructure.

Pope Francis has encouraged everyone to take responsibility for our common home. He said:

“There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyles.”

We can treat our home with respect by leading the way, taking responsibility and forging new habits. Although we have come far in the fight against climate change, if we want to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C we need to be going much further, faster.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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Interested in working with our Catholic Schools?

Could you help to inspire and empower children and young people in our Catholic schools to act on their sense of justice?

In this fast-paced world with our never-ending obsession with self, it can be hard to hear the cry of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.

But at CAFOD we believe that no-one is beyond reach and our mission is to raise awareness in our Catholic schools about the impact of our choices, the situation that refugees are facing due to conflict, persecution and climate change and to inspire children in England and Wales to pray, to act and to give through their fundraising efforts to support and empower people who are really suffering: suffering from a lack off access to water, suffering from a lack of access to education, suffering disempowerment through gender inequality; suffering from lack of access to enough food and basic healthcare; suffering from having no place to call home.

If these issues touch your heart and you want to take action, why not come along to our Education Volunteer Refresher training next Monday, 17 September between 11 and 3.30pm (lunch provided) at The Mostyn Room (adjacent to St David’s Cathedral in the heart of Cardiff and behind Marks & Spencer).

This is a vital role working alongside teachers, priests, school chaplains and catechists.

We provide you with all the training and resources you will need.  And we are always on hand to support you with any questions you may have. We work in partnership with you and without you we can’t get the message out widely enough.

So it’s safe to say that joining our Education team and working with our schools is one of the most rewarding and important volunteering roles with us at CAFOD.

We can say, hand on heart, that you will relish the opportunity to spend time discussing issues of global justice with children and young people and supporting the amazing teachers we have working in our schools.

We urgently need more volunteers to join our team, so please don’t leave it to someone else to get involved – why not give us a ring on 02920 344 882 or email us to find out more.

You will be welcomed with open arms!  Thank you.

 

 

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

Justice and Peace walk at Penarth for Share the Journey

On Wednesday, 18 July on a beautifully warm Summer’s evening, the parishes of St Mary’s in Dinas Powys and St Joseph’s in Penarth on the outskirts of Cardiff met together to `Share the Journey’; to walk in solidarity with refugees and migrants.

“Christ asks us to welcome our brother and sister migrants and refugees with arms wide open.”

Share the Journey is a global campaign launched by Pope Francis to stand up for the rights of people on the move. The campaign is about raising awareness of the perilous journeys that refugees and migrants have to make when they are forced to leave their homes due to wars, the impact of climate change on their communities or persecution.

Refugees and migrants are often among the poorest and most vulnerable people.  Most people on the move are coming from poor countries, and most seek safety in nearby poor countries or within their own country’s borders.

The communities who welcome them are often struggling to survive themselves.

Time and again, Pope Francis has returned to the idea of welcoming the stranger – in words but also in practice.

He has lambasted the “globalisation of indifference” on the island of Lampedusa where thousands of migrants landed. He chose to go there on his first visit outside Rome as Pope.

Members of the Penarth community have been very committed to working for justice and peace for many years and once again they stepped up in support of the campaign.

The group heard several powerful stories during the walk which gave us some small insight into the difficulties and choices that migrants and refugees who had come to settle in Cardiff – a City of Sanctuary – had been forced to face.

Being a City of Sanctuary means building a culture of hospitality and welcome and is part of a national movement which offers sanctuary to people fleeing violence or persecution and celebrates the contribution of asylum seekers and refugees to city life.

We reflected on how different their experiences are to our own. The stories that we heard were heart-breaking and sometimes shocking because of the levels of brutality and violence involved.

Some of the walkers knew the individuals personally and could bring us up-to-date with their current situation.

Some were volunteers at Cardiff based Space4U an organisation offering friendship and support, English classes, recreational activities, a simple hot meal, practical support and information. ship and support, Engli

The individual stories were extracts from a published book that the refugees and migrants had written themselves.

The Share the Journey campaign continues until the end of the year.  If you would like to organise a card signing in your parish, or a short walk around your parish church, please get in touch with us.  We’re here to help and support you.

Gracious god, help us each day to live simply, taking small but deliberate steps to preserve the earth’s resources.

Creator God, may the beauty and bounty of this world remind us of your overflowing love for us.

Help us to remember that you made enough for all; teach us to share freely with one another, out of love for you and  our neighbour.
Merciful God, whose son became a refugee and had no place to call his own, look with mercy on all those fleeting from danger, homelessness and hungry.

Bless those who work to bring them relief, inspire generosity in our hearts, and guide all nations towards a world where peace in built on justice and justice is guided by love.  Amen.