Ymprydio, gweddio a rhoi / Fast, pray and give

 “Ni ddylai neb yfed dwr mor fudr a hyn” “No-one should drink water this dirty”

… was the message for our Harvest Fast Day appeal this year.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to our parishes, supporters and wonderful volunteers who attended our Fast Day briefings, helped to get our message into parish newsletters, put up posters, held a simple Soup Lunch, fasted, gave the short talk at Mass, distributed and collected the Fast Day envelopes – prayed and supported us in any way this Harvest Fast Day.

Diolch! Bydd eich rhodd yn achub bywydau

Thank you!  Your gift will save lives.

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First Share the Journey walk in Herefordshire

War, persecution, natural disasters and poverty force millions of people from their homes.

Most come from poor countries and seek safety in other poor countries nearby.

Dispelling myths about refugees and migrants is something we can all help with.

And this was how parishioners from St Frances of Rome church in the beautiful market town of Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire responded to Pope Francis’ call to welcome refugees and migrants with open arms.

Altar servers, twin brothers, Tom & Gerry

The liveSimply group in the parish organised a Share the Journey walk around the buggy route in the town, to coincide with the end of Refugee Week.

Before setting off, parish priest, Father Nicholas James, blessed the entire congregation as well as the group of walkers.

At the end of their journey, the group had totted up 40 miles which has been added to CAFOD’s online totaliser for Share the Journey.

It is a shocking fact that at the end of last year, 68.5 million people were displaced around the world due to persecution, conflict or violence.

Few us can even imagine being at home and suddenly have to escape with our family and leave absolutely everything we own behind.

We can try to imagine setting off on a long journey to find a new home.  Not knowing how long we will be walking, when we will next eat or where we can rest.

Alone and afraid, there is now doubt that we would welcome someone to reach and talk to us, to share the journey with us.

But this was just like Dilda’s journey.  She fled from Myanmar to escape violence in her village.

She says: “We didn’t bring a thing.  We just grabbed the children and ran.”

Dilda left everything behind.  Her home, her possessions, everything – for a temporary shelter on the side of the road.

Her children are scarred by what they have seen.

We cannot cross by on the other side while our neighbours are struggling.

The church has been at the forefront of reaching out to refugees and migrants but so far our world leaders are not meeting the challenge.

Alongside Catholics around the world, we are asking them to step up.

Parishes, schools around the country can help to send a powerful message to world leader who are drawing up new global agreements at the UN in September and December this year.

How?  By sharing the journey.  By joining us on a walk.  Not just any walk, but a walk around the world.

The target was 24,900 miles – the distance around the whole world.

But we’ve achieved that already!!

We are walking around the world a second time…

CAFOD will  use the #sharethejourney walks and card signings in parishes and schools to demonstrate our solidarity with people on the move to our Prime Minister, Theresa May, to our local MPs and the government.

We hope to influence the UN so that the new agreements will respect human dignity; protect the vulnerable; support host countries; keep families together and tacked the reasons why people migrate.

Please consider signing the online petition today to ask the UN to agree compassionate agreements which respect human dignity of all people.

If you would like to know more about organising a walk in your parish or school, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’d be delighted to support you.  You can order action cards here.

Loving God, You walk with those searching for a better life.  May we work together to share the journey and offer everyone a loving welcome. Amen.

 

Ash Wednesday marked with soup lunch in Monmouth

Parishioners and friends from St Mary’s RC Church in Monmouth

Diana Turnbull, a member of the Monmouth and Ross LiveSimply group hosted a soup lunch on Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of Lent and to raise funds to support CAFOD’s Lenten appeal for Zimbabwe.

In 1960, a group of Catholic women did something extraordinary. They organised the first Family Fast Day to support mothers and babies in Dominica who were suffering from malnutrition. They received overwhelming support. They aimed to raise £500 but in fact raised over £6,500.

The following year they raised £27,000.  And from this CAFOD was born.

Elspeth Orchard, one of CAFOD’s founders, explained:

“We weren’t doing anything special, we were just doing what we thought we ought to do, remembering that we are all God’s children.”

This year CAFOD is returned to the origins of Family Fast Day and invited supporters to express their love and compassion for our global family, through prayer, fasting and giving.

Fasting is an important spiritual practice, particularly during Lent. Our fast is a symbolic act of love for people who have to go without food – it unites us with them and shows them they are not alone.

Pope Francis tells us that Lent is a time for us to wake up – to have our eyes opened to who we are called to be as children of God. To see that God can give us strength to change not only our own lives, but also to reach out and help others.

Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.  Pope Francis Lenten message 2018

Fasting has the potential to change and transform our relationships not only with our neighbour, but with ourselves, with God and with creation.

In the Catholic Christian tradition fasting is not seen in isolation, but is very closely linked to prayer and almsgiving – giving money to worthy causes.

This year CAFOD’s Lenten appeal focuses on Zimbabwe.

Once known as the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe now struggles to grow enough food for the population, with one in three people undernourished.

The collapse of the economy, combined with changes in the climate that see later and more erratic rainfall and long dry spells in the growing season, have led to the country struggling to feed itself in many of the last few years.

January to March is the most difficult time of year for food. The rains have started falling from November but the harvest won’t start until April and the stores from last year are depleted – this time of year is known as the ‘hunger gap’.

Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people living with HIV and AIDS are particularly vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition. In Zimbabwe, one in four children under five have stunted growth from not getting enough good food.

CAFOD is working with the local Catholic church, through Caritas partners in Zimbabwe to tackle hunger and malnutrition.

We are also helping communities to plant community vegetable gardens where each family has their own plot to grow vegetables for their family to eat and to sell any surplus – providing seeds and tools and fencing off the garden to protect the produce from livestock

We are training families on farming techniques to grow drought-resistant crops and adapt their farming methods to a changing climate.

We are teaching families about good nutrition and providing seeds to grow protein-rich foods such as sesame and peanuts.

We’re training nurses and village health workers on nutrition – how to spot a malnourished child and how to prevent malnutrition.

We’re setting up support groups for new mums – where experienced mothers in a community run weekly sessions and undertake home visits with pregnant women and new mums to teach them about breastfeeding and weaning.

We’re running cooking demonstrations through support groups for mums – so mothers know what nutrients are in the new vegetables they are growing and how best to cook them.

Last but not least, we are teaching communities about good hygiene and providing safe water, so people don’t lose nutrients from diarrhoea.

In areas where we have been working, statistics show that people’s diets have improved and people are eating more food and a better variety of nutritious food.

So Diana responded to our invitation to organise her own soup lunch and eat a simple meal in solidarity with others who regularly go without enough to eat.

What your fundraising can do…

    • £1 buys seeds for a family to grow beans that are full of protein
    • £3 can train a local mum to set up a support group for new mums, to advise on breastfeeding and weaning
    • £6 can train a health worker to weigh and measure babies to check for malnutrition
    • £10 can buy nutritious sesame seeds for a family to sow
    • £12 can provide seeds for a family to grow peanuts and make nutritious peanut butter
    • £20 can buy a watering can so seedlings don’t dry out
    • £56 can buy all the seeds needed for a family to plant a garden full of nutritious vegetables
    • £194 can train two health workers and a network of local mums so a whole village of mothers have all the information they need to keep their babies healthy
    • £1,266 buys all the tools needed for a community to care for their own vegetable garden

Match funding

We are fortunate enough to have been awarded match funding for our Lent Fast Day Appeal from the government’s Department for International Development (DFID). This means all eligible donations our supporters make during our Lent Family Fast Day Appeal will be matched by the government, up to a total value of £5m. All donations made from 13 February until 12 May will be doubled.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

“Malnutrition has devastating effects on families all around the world, with children at risk of long-term physical and mental damage.”

“Every donation made by the generous British public to the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development’s Family Fast Day Appeal will be matched pound for pound by the UK Government, helping families in Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Zambia gain access to the food they need to survive.”

So the money from the UK Government will fund a three-year project to improve nutrition in Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Zambia – reaching 245,00 people.

So thank you Diana! The event on Ash Wednesday was a great way for us to start Lent.  It was well attended by friends and parishioners alike and the soup was absolutely delicious.

£100 was raised and your donation will be doubled by the UK Government, making double the difference.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent appeal here

It’s not too late for your parish to get involved. Find resources here.

 

Making our voices heard

Fr Nicholas James with members of the liveSimply group, Lynne, Lis, Elizabeth, Kim and Lynne

The July liveSimply meeting at St Mary’s RC Church in Monmouth saw members kick off their parish involvement with CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign. 

Parish priest, Fr Nick James, lead from the front, being the first person to sign a card. 

The campaign card itself is being sent to Melanie Robinson, UK Executive director at the World Bank petitioning her to stay true to the UK’s commitment to tackling poverty and climate change by supporting access to renewable, safe, reliable and affordable energy for the poorest communities. 

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Meeting with MP for the Power to Be

Lis Teiser, Dr Jesse Norman, MP and Therese Warwick

On Friday 14 July, members of the LiveSimply group in Monmouth/Ross-on-Wye parishes met with Dr Jesse Norman MP at his surgery in the Larruperz Centre in Ross.

CAFOD recently launched a new campaign during the Climate Coalition’s Week of Action at the beginning of July.  In case you missed it – it’s called the Power to Be.

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Living simply with Bees

The liveSimply group tin Ross and Monmouth were delighted to welcome renowned UN consultant, Nicola Bradbear, to the Priory in Monmouth on 4 May.

Nicola founded Bees for Development which works to assist beekeepers in developing countries.

Beekeeping can help families move beyond subsistence farming and their crops can improve thanks to increased bee pollination.

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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

Caring sustainably for Creation

livesimply-children-with-bannerTwo parishes in the Archdiocese of Cardiff: St Mary’s in Monmouth and St Frances of Rome in Ross-on-Wye are ministered to by one priest, Fr Nicholas James.

Both parish communities have been working together, exploring exploring CAFOD’s liveSimply award, following a series of talks earlier in the year from CAFOD South Wales.

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Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage

Fr Nick James and parishioners from St Frances of Rome and St Mary's

Pope Francis encourages us all to make a pilgrimage in the Year of Mercy as a sign of our ongoing journey of conversion and spiritual renewal.

Parishioners from St Frances of Rome, Ross-on-Wye and St Mary’s, Monmouth responded to this invitation when they came together to organise their own Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage on Tuesday 20 September to show solidarity with the thousands of refugees who are leaving their homes to escape from war, poverty and persecution.

The Lost Family Portraits were shown in the parish room before the pilgrimage began at 5.30 p.m.

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