Sarah’s Stars

Sarah O’Kane is a star volunteer for CAFOD in her wonderful parish, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Mumbles, Swansea and a school volunteer in her local schools.

Sarah volunteered with our dear friend Sue Philippart, who tragically died in March. But Sue continues to be her inspiration.  And now Sarah is crocheting Stars for CAFOD.

We all miss Sue dreadfully, but I think, well I know, that Sue would absolutely love and support Sarah’s efforts and commitment to build a Summer of Hope.

Sarah says she is passionate about CAFOD’s work because of its sustainability.

We work in partnership with our local experts, whether priest, midwife or water engineer. They understand what people need as they are part of the community.

At this difficult time, as you can imagine, CAFOD is working very hard to support ongoing essential projects as well as re-purposing grants in communities that are coping with the devastating effects of the Coronavirus.

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We say THANK YOU to all our amazing volunteers – Celebrate together this Volunteers’ Week with Mass at 6 pm today (Thursday 4 June)

This is National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June)  – an annual celebration of the millions of people who give up their time to help their communities and country. And this year, there are more people to thank than ever before.

CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, said: “During the Coronavirus pandemic, we have seen some amazing feats of volunteering to support the Coronavirus response both here and overseas.

“Over the past few months, here at CAFOD we have seen our numbers of volunteers and the time they are willing to give increase – equating to over 100,000 extra hours volunteered to help some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Jane Davies (from St Miichael & All Angels parish, Belmont Abbey is doing a sponsored walk to raise funds for the Coronavirus appeal – Thank you Jane!

Volunteering in numbers

  • Across the UK, 11.9 million people formally volunteered at least once a month in 2017/18.
  • An amazing 6,305 CAFOD volunteers in England and Wales across 15 volunteering roles gave an average of 27,862 hours each month.
  • That’s the equivalent of 334,344 hours over the course of a year – a record-breaking 100,000 more hours than last year!

Join us

Every year, we hold volunteer events around the country to thank our amazing volunteers – and although our events may look a bit different this year, we’d still love for you to join us to celebrate what an amazing difference your volunteering has made.

Please join us on this evening (Thursday 4 June) at 6 pm for our Volunteers’ Week celebration online Mass.

Register to join us

 

A tribute to a highly-valued volunteer – RIP Sue Philippart

Susan Philippart

I am finding it difficult to find the right words to describe Sue Philippart – a parish volunteer, education volunteer, campaigner, school teacher and friend in the diocese of Menevia in Wales.

Some of you may know already, that Sue died in the early hours of Wednesday 25 March, following a serious fall – the very same day as her Mum’s (Gerry) funeral at Our Lady, Star of the Sea church in Mumbles, Swansea.

The very last message I had from Sue was on 4 March to let me know that her  “lovely Mum passed away suddenly but peacefully in her sleep on Sunday 23 February, so life has been in turmoil ever since. I know you totally understand as you’ve been through the same yourself.”

Sue at a CAFOD briefing in Swansea with her granddaughter

She went on to say that she was at Mass the week before Lent Fast Day with her father and sisters and a fellow parishioner, Sarah O’Kane

“did my Lent appeal beautifully. Sarah is a beautiful soul.”

Fundraising at Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Mumbles

Sue gave me details of her Mum’s funeral in her parish, Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Mumbles on Tuesday 9 March and that two priests Fr Michael and Fr Mansel Usher (her former parish priest) were con-celebrating the Requiem Mass.

And her last message to me was: “Donations in lieu of flowers are to go to CAFOD.  Would you mind putting my beautiful Mum, Gerardine Mary McNeff, in the Book of Remembrance please.  Lots of love and hugs, Sue xxx”

Tragically, Sue had suffered a fractured skull in the fall and was put into an induced coma in hospital in Cardiff. She had emergency surgery and a request for prayers went out to family, friends, colleagues, pupils, parishioners to pray for Sue to make a full recovery.  Sue was also remembered at our Mass in Romero House.

Sadly it was a few weeks later that  Fr Mansel broke the awful news that Sue had died peacefully in the early hours of the morning. He had been with her and her family.

“May she rest in peace. Amen.”

 

We can only do the work we do at CAFOD because of wonderful volunteers like you.  And Sue really was a volunteer in a million.

Sue Philippart, Gemma Salter, Fr Mansel Usher and Sarah O’Kane

She was beautiful, intelligent, fun-loving, prayerful, reflective, caring, compassionate, supportive – a do-er who put her faith into practical action.

She oozed infectious enthusiasm with her winning smile and can-do attitude.

Mrs Philippart with some pupils after a CAFOD assembly

She was a gifted primary school teacher who will be sorely missed by her colleagues and pupils at St Joseph’s Cathedral School in Swansea where she raised awareness and inspired prayer and action for a more just world.

Share the journey walk from St Joseph’s school to St Joseph’s Cathedral – with Canon Benedict Koledoye (Dean)

She championed CAFOD’s core values: compassion, hope, dignity, solidarity, partnership, sustainability and stewardship with daily acts of kindness and expressions of solidarity and hope.

Sarah O’Kane, Fr Mansel Usher and Sue Philippart

Not only in fundraising activities, but Share the Journey walks in solidarity with refugees and migrants in the Year of Mercy and campaigning with her parish and school children to write powerful messages to the World Bank; her class drew their own sun power pictures to highlight the need for renewable energy for the world’s poorest people so that they can access vital services such as schools and health clinics.

Fairtrade campaign outside Sainsbury’s in Swansea

A talented teacher, Sue was part of the Swansea-Siavonga partnership and visited Zambia with the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms.

Sue with Sr Mary

It was a life-changing trip which also included a visit to a CAFOD project: the St Francis Intergrated Care programme in Zambia where she met Sr Mary Courtney – a religious sister of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa who was the programme co-ordinator. 

Sue was over the moon, and if it was possible to be more supportive of CAFOD, then she was.

Parishioners from OLSS with Geoff O’Donoghue and Fr Michael Apoghiran

CAFOD’s Operations Director, Geoff O’Donoghue, visited Our Lady, Star of the Sea parish and met with Sue and the wonderful group of committed and generous parishioners who support CAFOD’s work with prayer and fundraising. And he wrote to her after his trip to Mumbles to say:

“It was a great pleasure to meet Fr Michael, yourself and all the other supporters at Our Lady’s – it is very energizing to meet the levels of commitment and motivation that were so evident in your parish community and in the concern you have for others.”

Her fellow Education volunteer and good friend from OLSS, Sarah O’Kane sent us this:

“Sue was the CAFOD Parish Rep for Our Lady Star of the Sea in Mumbles and when I joined the Parish in October 2016 I asked if I could do anything to help her…well, as she used to say, the rest is history!

We became a good team, I was constantly inspired by her contagious enthusiasm for CAFOD  (due to which I also became, like Sue, a CAFOD School Volunteer.)

Sue cared deeply about justice, especially where children and education were concerned. She was always ready to go the extra mile, literally in fact, when Sue went to Zambia twice, on British Council exchange visits, she carved out time from an incredibly busy schedule to visit Sister Mary in a project supported by CAFOD. On her return home, Sue persuaded the Parish to earmark funds to continue to support Sister Mary’s Project.

We will all miss Sue’s huge smile, her warmth, her strong faith, her love of life and her wonderful enthusiasm.”

And a fellow Education volunteer in Menevia, Jane Stubbs, added:

I only knew Sue for a short time, but what an impression she made on me. I first met her on the train from Swansea to Cardiff for our CAFOD training. Sarah introduced me, and straight away it was like speaking to a long lost friend, her smile, warmth and enthusiasm for everything we talked about will always stay with me.  

It was a privilege to have known her.

And from Fr Mansel Usher:

During my time as parish priest of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Mumbles, Ms Sue Philippart, who has been a member of the parish all her life, became an invaluable supporter of a number of projects that were either already in existence or were new to the parish.

One of the projects already underway was the parish`s support for CAFOD. When I appealed for volunteers to help raise the profile of CAFOD`s activities both within the parish and within schools, Sue, along with Mrs Sarah O`Kane responded with tremendous enthusiasm.

The parish were already generous supporters of CAFOD but with the help of Sue and Sarah the level of support rose significantly. It was always a delight to work with Sue and Sarah. Any requests for help to promote events such as the Lenten Family Fast Appeals or the Harvest Appeals were always responded to with unconditional generosity.

Her “unconditional generosity” is something that I will sorely miss in our dear departed sister Sue. She is someone I knew I could totally depend upon, someone who would go out of her way to give everything to help support such a worthy cause which she totally believed in.

It is hard to believe Sue is no longer among us. In losing Sue I, like so many people, have lost a very dear friend, a beautiful person of deep, unwavering faith.”

Sue’s family have sent up a fundraising page in her memory with proceeds to CAFOD; she will live on in our work.  We are incredibly grateful to Sue’s father, Chris McNeff and to all her family for thinking of CAFOD at this awfully difficult time. She would be so proud of you all.

St Joseph’s Cathedral School, where Sue taught for many years, has produced a wonderful montage which we share here.

We will forever miss your radiant smile, your unfailing enthusiasm and your warm and loving friendship. Thank you Sue, from us all at CAFOD.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13)

Sue gave all of these in abundance. May she rest in eternal peace.

 

 

 

 

COMING TOGETHER FOR MASS IN OUR PARISHES (livestream links) and VIRTUAL CHILDREN’S LITURGY WITH CAFOD

While we cannot gather in person, we can still come together as a community through prayer.

Join CAFOD online for a virtual children’s liturgy of the word.  We will share a Bible reading, song, reflection and prayer.  This Sunday morning at 10.00-10.15 am.

Please register beforehand (updated link). Click here to register

Staying Connected throughout COVID-19

Locally within the Dioceses the following parishes will be live streaming:

CARDIFF

Archbishop George Stack will celebrate the liturgy of Holy Week at St Mary of the Angels. https://cardiffwestcatholics.org.uk/

Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper: 7.30 pm

Good Friday, The Liturgy of the Passion: 3 pm

Easter Vigil: 8.30 pm

Easter Sunday:  10 am

Additional parish Masses are listed here:  

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Refresher training day for Schools Volunteers

Our first refresher training day for School volunteers is taking place on Thursday 30 January in the Mostyn Room, adjacent to St David’s Metropolitan Cathedral in Cardiff-.

This is a twice yearly opportunity for our team of school volunteers to come together to look at the new resources for Lent 2020 – both the assemblies and workshops that we offer to schools across the Archdiocese.

Our Education volunteer co-ordinator contacts schools each term to promote our school volunteers and invite them to take up our offer of an assembly or workshops.  We have an amazing range of resources for schools on offer.

The team does a wonderful job in raising awareness of our work.

We couldn’t make the same impact without the generous gift of their time, their enthusiasm and good humour.  Their commitment to CAFOD is inspiring!

This month we are getting ready for Lent 2020.  We’ll be focusing on the Amazon rainforest and the problems of deforestation and protecting human rights.   

We want to help pupils to understand how CAFOD is working with communities around the world to support people defending their rights. And for children to to see the relationship between taking action and supporting communities overseas.

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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.

Harvest Fast Day meetings

With just six weeks to go until Harvest Fast day  (Friday 4 October) – we are holding planning meetings around the diocese.   These informal “briefings” are for all parish volunteers and interested supporters who want to find about more about what we can all do to change lives, working in partnership with CAFOD.  There will be information on the appeal, research on how your commitment to Speaking at Mass for CAFOD really makes a difference and feedback on how and where your generous donations at Lent have been used and the impact they are having.

Family Fast Day happens twice a year.  When Fast Day first took place, many families saw it as an opportunity to practice giving something up for the sake of others.

“Millions of people in the world are hungry and they are largely hungry because the good fruits of the earth are enjoyed by too few – and we are among the few. There is enough food for all – if only it could be fairly shared.”

(this is quoted from the very first leaflet in 1961)

Many people in England and Wales had known hardship and poverty themselves and had sympathy for those who were struggling to survive.  This recognition that we are all one global family is truly humbling and in those early days the message was quite clear.

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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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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