Hearing the Amazon at the Amazon Synod

Amazon synod

As the Amazon synod draws to a close, CAFOD volunteer Katie Alstead looks at the importance of the synod and at what’s been happening around the world. 

Why is it important we protect the Amazon rainforest?

The Amazon rainforest is an intricately woven web life. The leaves of over 750 types of trees cushion its floor, 427 mammal species roam the forest, and more than 1,300 different types of bird cries can be heard under its luscious canopies.

What’s more, there are more than 30 million people living in the rainforest today and an estimated 50 native tribes. They rely on it for food, shelter, livelihoods; their very existence as they know it. But deforestation and deliberate forest fires pose an urgent and devastating threat.

Find out how you can get involved in campaigning for climate justice 

Without action, both the Amazon biome and the indigenous peoples’ way of life will disappear irreversibly.

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Retired South Wales Teacher Receives Blessing From Pope for 25 Years of Volunteering

sandra davies

On Sunday 6th October, Sandra Davies was awarded a Papal Blessing in recognition of her dedicated volunteering and commitment to CAFOD.

Sandra Davies presented with an unexpected Papal Blessing

A former Port Talbot teacher, Sandra Davies, has been presented with an award from Pope Francis for her 25 years of volunteering and helping to educate others on development issues. To the surprise and delight of the congregation, Fr Neil Evans presented the award on behalf of Pope Francis at the end of Sunday Mass on Sunday 6th October at St Joseph’s Church in Neath.

The church was beautifully decorated for Harvest and over 70 parishioners, keen to support Sandra and all she has done, attended Mass, which was beautifully led by pupils from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Neath. There was joyous singing, thanksgiving hymns, contributions for the local food bank and a superb celebration cake made by a fellow parishioner, Desiree Nicholas.

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Thanking Sandra’s meaningful and life-saving work

After Mass, Sandra shared her experience of volunteering with us and thanked everyone who attended. She was described by our South Wales representative, Therese Warwick, as “a very modest and self-effacing person with a heart of gold who has quietly got on with supporting Fr Neil Evans”. We are incredibly grateful for her unwavering support over the years.

“Sandra has a long history of working to educate children and young people about issues that affect global communities – and has helped people in the local community to better understand the issues that are facing some of the poorest communities around the world.”

From everyone at CAFOD, we want to say a massive congratulations to Sandra for her Papal Blessing- it is truly well-deserved.

We wouldn’t be able to continue our work around the world without admirable volunteers like Sandra. She has done everything from speaking at school to fundraising, taking part in charity events and campaigning, and it was wonderful to see everyone support her on this special day.

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How can you get involved?

We have over 5,000 volunteers across England and Wales who help to educate, campaign and raise their voice on issues affecting some of the poorest communities in the world. Whether you have been with us for years or you’re just starting your journey, get involved by visiting cafod.org.uk/volunteering or email southwales@cafod.org.uk.

Swansea church invites a change of heart

Jane, Sally & StuartSt David’s Priory RC Church in Swansea invited their parish community to a change of The shared table heart on Sunday 22 September at a special Mass to celebrate creation.

“And God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:25).  God’s gaze, at the beginning of the bible, rests lovingly on his creation.  From habitable land to life-giving waters, from fruit-bearing trees to animals that share our common home, everything is dear in the eyes of God, who offers creation to men and women as a precious gift to be preserved.”

Pope Francis on the World Day of Prayer for Creation   1 September 2019

The Creation Celebration Mass was introduced by two long-serving parish volunteers, Sally Meredith and Stuart Harper, ably supported by Mary, Geraldine, Maureen and Jane.

Barely a day goes by when the newspapers don’t have an article about climate change.  They highlight that the critical time is NOW!

The idea was to come together and engage in a conversation about climate change which is a concern for the whole parish community and to share ideas.

To prepare for the the event, parishioners were also invited to bring in any articles and photos that had made an impact on them and pin them to the display board in church. .

Planet; the creation given to us by our Father to nurture, not plunder.

Pope Francis invites us to a change of heart; individually, as a community and at international level, so we may truly respond to “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. LS#49

A superb choir provided the music and lead the congregation with wonderful hymns including: “Here I am Lord” “We come to your feast” “Bread for the world” and “Christ be our light.”

The special the bidding prayers were said in four different languages: Hindi, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish as well as being translated back into English.

It was a very inclusive Mass.  And it was super to see so many young altar servers attending Canon Flook at Mass.

A shared table was organised for after Mass and parishioners and items to bring were carefully co-ordinated to avoid wastage.  There was a wonderful offering of food.

There was a marvellous response from the parish and Stuart Harper compered a climate quiz during lunch. Fabulous entertainment was provided by Keith & Co.

It was a wonderful occasion.  Thanks to a committed, knowledgeable and prayerful parish volunteer team, Canon Flook and enthusiastic fellow parishioners.

Find out more about CAFOD’s action on climate change here. 

Sign the petition to ask the government to stop funding fossil fuels overseas.

Download a prayer for the Care of Creation to use in your parish.

Caerphilly Creation Celebration Mass in The Universe

Celebrate God’s gift of creation during Creation Time – 1 September – 4 October with Creation Celebration Mass in your parish and over simple refreshments after Mass ask your fellow parishioners to sign our petition to the government.

The UK government has announced that it will commit in law a by-2050 net zero emissions target. This is good news BUT we now need ambitious and urgent policies to make this announcement a reality.

We’ve produced a “net zero” factsheet which explains what the campaign is asking for.

Sign online here or download a copy of the offline petition and invite your parish community to make their concerns about climate change heard.

Don’t forget to invite your MP or AM to your Creation celebration and why not send them a copy of your petition too.  Here are some useful templates to use to write to them.

Take a look at these prayers of intercession for the climate.

The UK Student Climate Network is co-ordinating a climate strike on Friday 20 September – meeting outside Cardiff Castle at 10 am.

We are NOT encouraging school children to go out on strike. This is something for young people to discuss with their parents and teachers.

We are encouraging everyone, adults and children alike, to stand in solidarity with those young people who are striking on Friday.  Pope Francis has consistently reminded us that the climate crisis we face is urgent and that inter-generational justice is a key element of this.

We have a range of resources for primary and secondary schools to get clued up on climate change and everybody can play their part by writing to their MP and letting them know that they want to see action on climate change.

CAFOD staff have been encouraged to use their lunch breaks to attend local protests, to pray for those taking part in the strikes and to let their MPs know they want to see political action on climate change.

CAFOD campaigns for political action on climate change because it is already having a devastating impact on the poor communities we work with around the world. This campaigning is within our remit as an international development charity dedicated to people living in poverty overseas.

LOVE IS CIVIC & POLITICAL: Our Faith and the Common Good

You are warmly invited to join us for a CAFOD Faith in Action day.

Previously known as retreats, the Faith in Action days are free and open to all; whether you are new to campaigning, want to learn more about campaigning or you joined us a long time ago, you are very welcome. 

From Trump to Brexit to climate, politics is everywhere. But when should we pray from the side-lines and when should we roll up our sleeves?

The Church here and around the world has a proud history of encouraging Catholics’ political reflection and action. With amazing results.

At this CAFOD day, we’ll explore the links between faith and politics.

Join us and reflect on Scripture and Church teaching.

Sign up on Eventbrite today.

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CAFOD AND WORKING WITH OUR CATHOLIC SCHOOLS

You are very welcome to join us on Thursday 19 September 2019 for our termly Education refresher training update which will be held in the Mostyn Room, adjacent to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint David in Cardiff (right next door to M & S).

If you think would like to join our team of volunteers working in the Archdiocese of Cardiff, then get in touch

We’d love to have a chat and invite you in to the volunteer centre in the heart of Cardiff to tell you all about what’s involved.  It’s as little or as much as you want to commit.

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CREATION CELEBRATION MASS AT ST HELEN’S CAERPHILLY – Monday 2 September at 12 noon

All are invited to come to a Creation Celebration Mass at St Helen’s RC Church, Caerphilly on Monday 2 September at 12 noon.

Mass will be outside on the lawn (weather permitting) or in the hall.

Mass will be followed by a bring-and-share picnic.

Join us to give special thanks for the gift of creation
and to pray for our common home.

Let us know you are attending by registering your interest for this free event at Eventbrite.

God has entrusted the care of Creation to us.

Pope Francis, in Laudato Si‘ describes how our beautiful planet has been despoiled and exploited for profit. We all need to value Creation.

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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,”

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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Creation Celebration Mass at Burry Port

 

Our Lady, Star of the Sea parish in Burry Port is holding the first Creation Celebration Mass in the Archdiocese on Saturday 25 May at 6.30 pm. Followed by tea & coffee and conversation about climate change.  Parishioners from any parish are cordially invited to attend.

What is a Creation Celebration?  It’s just one element of CAFOD’s new climate campaign: “Our Common Home.”

As Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si (#14)’:

“We need a conversation which includes
everyone, since the environmental
challenge we are undergoing, and its
human roots, concern and affect us all.”

To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Going above 1.5°C warming could multiply hunger, migration and conflict.

To avoid this, we need the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2045. This will mean Britain no longer contributes to climate change.

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