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

CAFOD in a rapidly changing world

Geoff O’Donoghue, CAFOD’s Director of Operations, visited Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Mumbles to speak to supporters and parishioners about CAFOD’s work and new ambition “No One Beyond Reach.”

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

10 year anniversary of the Climate Change Act – send a birthday card to your MP


 

Ten years ago, MPs came together to pass a ground-breaking law: the Climate Change Act.  The law was the first of its kind and showed that the UK was serious about tackling climate change.

However, ten years on, we know that we need to be going much further and faster with our emissions cuts if we are going to limit the word effects of climate change.

We need to set a net zero target before 2050, this means only producing the same amount of greenhouse gases that we take in.

A group of MPs have already come together to ask for this by signing a letter.  But if we are going to set a new target, we need more MPs to sign up.

Please click on the link here to sign a card to your MP and ask them to be a Zero Hero.
We will add your name, along with others in your constituency, and deliver it to them. Continue reading

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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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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Sharing the journey with refugees in Brecon

On a lovely sunny afternoon in the middle of August, parishioners from St Michael’s parish in Brecon, were joined in a Share the Journey walk by a number of refugees linked to Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees which was formed in 2015.

The group then joined the national City of Sanctuary movement: which is comprised of over 60 local groups which are committed to developing a “culture of welcome and inclusion” for people seeking sanctuary in the United Kingdom.

Father Jimmy Pulickakunnel, parish priest at St Michael’s led the group in prayer at the start of the walk.   Local CAFOD volunteer, Jean Ruston was the main organiser of the event and had chosen an accessible, peaceful walk through the beautiful and historic town of Brecon and along the banks of the River Honddu which joins the River Usk in the centre of town.

What is the Share the Journey campaign? #sharejourney

The Share the Journey campaign has at its heart the vision of a united global family.  The focus is on our joint journey as people on the move in departure, transit and host communities.

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Driving rain, high winds for Share the Journey in West Wales

August has been the month when a number of parishes around the Archdiocese have chosen to hold their Share the Journey walks.

And we could all be forgiven for thinking that Saturday 11 August would be a wonderfully warm Summer afternoon, after the heat-wave the UK had been experiencing in the previous weeks.

However, CAFOD supporters from the parishes of St Michael’s in St David’s and Holy Cross in Fishguard woke up to lashing rain and high winds off the coast of Pembrokeshire on the morning of their walk of solidarity to raise awareness of the plight of refugees and migrants in the run up to UN talks and new compacts due to be agreed in September and December this year.

A band of intrepid walkers, led by Naomi and Esther, set off from the towering cliffs which sandwich the small, rocky cove of Caerfai Bay situated about one mile south of the beautiful and popular city of St David’s.  It’s the smallest city in the UK and earns its status as a city from the magnificent cathedral of St David’s which was built in the twelfth century on the banks of the River Alun.

The scheduled walk along the coastal path from Caerfai Bay, buffeted by driving rain and strong winds, to the isolated, spiritual retreat of St. Non’s.

A truly wonderful place.

In a windswept field off the Pembroke coastal path we were able to see the ruins of St Non’s ancient chapel.  St Non was the mother of St David.  There is a small shrine dedicated to her in the corner of the field.  A covered well is also there which would have been essential to the local community back in the sixth century.  Everything is beautifully tended and cared for.

Sisters of Mercy run the St Non’s retreat centre and they gave us all a warm welcome and treated us to a lovely hot cuppa and a selection of very welcome biscuits.   Close by is a tiny chapel built in the 1930s. It’s door is always open and it boast ancient relics that have been rescued from neighbouring cowsheds!

This part of south-west Wales created the Welcome Fishguard Community Sponsorship Group which was one of first towns to respond to a UK scheme first announced in July 2016 by then Home Affairs Minister, Amber Rudd and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

 

The scheme adopted a new approach to refugee resettlement in the UK which aims to prevent refugee families from feeling isolated and struggling to adapt to their new surroundings which can lead to higher rates of unemployment, stress, depression and other problems.

Under this new UK Community Sponsorship program, local groups agree to sponsor refugee families and help them integrate into life in the UK. They help their new families find housing, access medical and social services, arrange English language tuition, and support them with employment, leading to self-sufficiency.

Community sponsorship enables local people to take responsibility for resettling a refugee family, supporting and empowering them to rebuild their lives.

In Wales, there are thirteen community groups already sponsoring families. Under the umbrella of Hiraeth Hope, Fishguard residents have worked with others in Haverfordwest and Narbeth to sponsor Syrian families.  Groups have also formed in Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Cardigan.

Hiraeth Hope was set up in 2015 to connect groups in towns across Wales who wanted to sponsor refugee families under the community settlement programme.

A note on their website says that being inclusive and generous is part of Welsh culture: “the Welsh language word for “Welsh” is “Cymro” which means “one of us.”  These towns are living up to the heritage of inclusiveness.

We are lobbying the UK government to put human dignity at the centre of the new UN agreements on Refugees and Migration.    A united, global response from world leaders is needed to reflect the following:

  1. Respect human dignity
  2. Protect the vulnerable
  3. Support host countries
  4. Keep families together
  5. Tackle the reasons for migration

It’s not too late to organise a card signing in your parish.  You can sign our petition to the UK government.  We are hoping that more of you will organise a simple walk around your church grounds to show your solidarity with people who are forced to flee their home through war, persecution, poverty or climate change.   Debunk the myths with our factsheet.

Lastly, thank you to everyone who braved the elements to #ShareJourney