Six years on from Pope Francis’ visit to Lampedusa

Pope Francis offered a Mass ijn St Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Monday (8th July) commemorating his visit to Lampedusa six years ago, praying for all migrants who have either died or been abused along their route.
“On this sixth anniversary of the visit to Lampedusa, my thoughts go out to those ‘least ones’ who daily cry out to the Lord, asking to be freed from the evils that afflict them,” 
“These least ones are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in reception camps too long for them to be called temporary,”

Memorial Mass for Menevia

P1180203On Monday 12 November our Memorial Mass for the Menevia Diocese took place at St David’s Priory in Swansea. We are very grateful to Canon Michael Flook for celebrating such a beautiful Mass which was an opportunity to come together and remember all those who have died and who continue to touch our lives.

Huge thanks to our wonderful parish volunteers, Stuart, Sally and Mary who ensured that readers, music and refreshments were all organised. It was lovely to see parishioners and supporters from parishes across the Swansea deanery who joined us. Continue reading

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.

Barry schoolchildren write messages of hope to refugees

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CAFOD South Wales were delighted to receive an invitation from Jenner Park Primary School in Barry to give an assembly focussing on the international development work of CAFOD.

A member of our Education volunteers team was given a very warm welcome before assembly and was able to start the morning  with an explanation of what the letters that make up CAFOD mean and that CAFOD works and helps people living in poverty, whatever their race, culture and religion. No-one is left out.

Continue reading

Step in to the Gap student visits schools in the Archdiocese

At very beginning of July and heading towards the end of the Summer term, Step in to the Gap volunteer, Charlotte Bray enjoyed a very busy week as she visited several schools in the Archdiocese of Cardiff.

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St Illtyd’s and a Rough Guide to CAFOD and the Refugee Crisis

Mr David Lewis, Head teacher at St Illtyd’s Catholic Primary School in Bonymaen, Swansea welcomed CAFOD in to the whole school assembly on Thursday 6 April where the children were given a “Rough Guide to CAFOD”

What does the D in CAFOD stand for?

Well it’s development.  And this was a great opportunity to explain what a development agency is and that development is about supporting people in poor communities to receive basic rights such as food, water, health care and education as well as a way to earn money to support themselves.

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Menevia schools get Fishy for Lent

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St Mary’s Primary School, Pembroke Dock on Valentine’s Day

It’s been a busy time for our Schools volunteers team as they have been out and about visiting schools across the Archdiocese.

In Menevia, on Valentine’s Day St Mary’s Primary School in Pembroke Dock welcomed us into school to learn all about how a fish farming project in Zambia is transforming lives – the children loved the video of Bob, the fish that’s he size of your thumb!p1150290

We also talked about Green Hearts for Valentine’s Day.  We were making and sharing a green heart to show our love for our world and how much we need to take care of it to reduce the impact of climate change. #ShowTheLove

The whole school assembly was followed up by a Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage with Years 4, 5 and 6.

Many of our neighbours around the world struggle to make ends meet.  They don’t even have enough money to buy the basics in life that we take for granted – like food, a home and clothes.

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Laudato Si’ workshop with St Teilo’s Primary School

 

On Monday 27 February, just before Lent started, St Teilo’s Primary school in Tenby learned how we can help to change this by joining with other schools across England and Wales to Turn little fish into Big fish in the whole school assembly.

Morning assembly was followed by a workshop for Year 5  and 6 exploring Laudato Si’  The Pope’s encyclical discusses the damage being inflicted on the Earth by humans and calls on ‘every person living on this planet’ to make urgent changes to our lifestyles and how we consume energy in order to protect the planet.

Take a look at our Laudato Si’ animation.

The day after Lent began, we travelled to St Joseph’s Junior School in Port Talbot to share the story of Florence’s transformation through fish farming with the help of CAFOD’s partners in Zambia.

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St Joseph’s Junior School, Port Talbot

After break Year 5 and Year 6 also followed the Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage action – and wrote some beautiful and poignant messages of hope for refugees.

The following day we were delighted to meet pupils at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Neath.  One of our newest school volunteers, Jane, delivered the Lent Fast Day assembly and was delighted with interest in CAFOD at the school.  She was particularly delighted to learn that St Joseph’s is an “eco friendly” school which strives to recycle as much waste as possible and encourages healthy snacks for children such as fruit, which is not packaged which helping us all to care for our common home.

schoolchildrenWe are always on the look out for more people to join our growing team of Education volunteers in Menevia.

Does this appeal to you?

Please get in touch if you would like some further details.

We all feel that it is such a rewarding role and a real privilege to work with the young people and dedicated staff in our Catholic schools in the diocese.

 

New Year resolutions to live more simply

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Parishioners from the LiveSimply group from St Mary’s in Monmouth and St Frances of Rome, Ross-on-Wye have been getting together over the last six months to explore ways to live more simply in their respective communities.

The first meeting of the new year saw the group hone in on planning the actions that they wish to take going forward.  Pope Francis has called on us all to make simple daily gestures to care for the world’s poorest people, for future generations and for the earth, our common home. Continue reading

Our Lady’s School in Hereford remembers plight of refugees

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Just before the children broke up for the Christmas holidays, CAFOD visited Our Lady’s RC Primary School in Hereford to talk to the children about the legacy of the Year of Mercy and the plight of refugees around the world. Continue reading

Ross school welcomes Lampedusa Cross

St Joseph's RC Primary, Ross-on-Wye

St Joseph’s RC Primary, Ross-on-Wye

St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Ross-on-Wye has a new head teacher, Mrs Hayley Francis. Mrs Francis kindly welcomed CAFOD into school during Advent to talk about refugees and migrants and to make their own “pilgrimage” in school. Continue reading