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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Musical concert for CAFOD at Belmont Abbey

A charity concert held at Belmont Abbey and performed by pupils from St Mary’s RC  High School in Lugwardine, Hereford has raised more than £500 for CAFOD.

The event on Thursday 11 April brought the total raised for CAFOD since 2013 to an impressive £20,000.

The spring concert  took place in a new venue this year – the beautiful Pugin designed monastery at Belmont Abbey.

Pupils from across the school performed a mixture of orchestral pieces, instrumental ensembles and solo pieces.

Parents, friends and teachers were joined by monks from the Benedictine community, sharing in the experience of the wonderful acoustics that Belmont Abbey provides.

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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

Catholic Schools across the Archdiocese Brighten up for Harvest

Pupils at St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School, Swansea

Over the past few weeks, many schools from across the Archdiocese of Cardiff have been taking part in CAFOD’s Brighten Up for Harvest appeal.

Sadly, due to poverty and injustice, this harvest will not be bright for millions of children and young people around the world who will miss out on food, clean water and even on going to school.

But support from our Catholic schools is helping to change this and help to make the world a brighter place for communities living in extreme poverty as they find ways to overcome their many challenges.

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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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Share the Journey at Kidwelly Quay

Parishioners from Holy Cross parish in Pontyberem near Carmarthen chose to make their Share the Journey walk at Kidwelly Quay which is located on the north bank of the Gwendraeth estuary.

We were guided by seasoned CAFOD campaigners, Paul and Stella Westmacott who are enlightened nature lovers and conservationists who embrace a liveSimply lifestyle.

Paul reading one of the refugee stories

And it was no surprise that the location chosen: Kidwelly Quay – is a Special Area of Conservation which attracts large numbers of birds to the sand and mud banks of the Gwendraeth River.

Wednesday 26 July was one of the most glorious Summer evenings we have enjoyed for a long time.

The temperature was still high as we set off at 6.30 pm but the wonderful, peaceful environs: the canal walk, salt marsh creeks with wildlife chirruping out of view, and a fresh-water pond all contributed to a very reflective walk surrounded on all sides by the beauty of creation in all its glory.

The setting we enjoyed was so far removed from that which many of our displaced brothers and sisters are facing around the world.  That very fact heightened the poignancy of the heart-rending stories we shared together.

Share the journey is a global campaign to promote Pope Francis’ “culture of encounter” whose goal is to increase the spaces and opportunities for migrants and local communities to meet, talk and take action.  We want to be welcoming and speak up for the rights of migrants and refugees.

There are many reasons why people migrate. War, persecution, natural disaster and poverty force millions of people from their homes. Most come from poor countries, and seek safety in poor countries nearby.

We cannot turn away. These are human beings with hopes, fears, desires and stories to share, just like each one of us.

Whatever the cause, migration has an impact on the place and the people left behind, the place of transit and the place where people eventually settle.

Pope Francis has declared this moment in time as a ‘unique opportunity’ for us to press our governments to make global commitments which place the human dignity of people on the move at their heart.

Jesus said: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

Every encounter is an experience of otherness.  It begins with recognising that our humanity is made up of different faces, stories and cultures. We carry this diversity within ourselves, while being united by the same dignity.

The violation of human dignity, a founding value of the individual, has unfortunately happened throughout the history of humankind.  It is the most serious evil and the origin of many other evils – from poverty to exclusion, from hoarding of resources to the accumulation of enormous riches in the hands of a few, from violence to wars afflicting millions of humans beings.

To create a true, deep culture of encounter we must ask ourselves above all – as human being and parish communities – how Jesus would relate to the major modern exoduses of refugees and migrants?  How would he respond to the poor people who look for refuge in our communities?

In the Gospel, we see how Jesus meets with marginalised people without any fear.  He enters into the concreteness of their lives, their anxieties and their concerns and he helps them come out of their anonymity.  They are no longer numbers, but faces and real stories.

Today we are facing major challenges, due, among other things, to the unsustainable model of development, a source of growing inequalities, precariousness and forced exoduses of millions of people from their own lands.

Many paradigms known up to today about human existence on the earth have been thrown into crisis: the availability of food, water, energy and natural resources, climate change, migration, inviolability of borders, the different interpretations of democracy, the models of family life and relationships.

Trying to face these challenges and overcome the crisis in a positive way is not simple.  These changes are not only taking place quickly but they are also taking place at the same time, all over the world, and at the same time in the whole world.

The Share the Journey campaign is a start: to walk together in diversity and unity of faiths and religions, growing in reciprocal knowledge and respect , in communion and in common commitment for a fairer and more human world.

Pope Francis outlined a way forward:

“Contemporary movements of migration represent the largest movement of individuals, if not of people, in history.  Our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.  I believe that conjugating these four verbs, in the first person singular and in the first person plural, is today a responsibility, a duty we have towards our brothers and sisters who, for various reasons, have been forced to leave their homeland: a duty of justice, of civility and of solidarity.”

Find out more about the UN agreements on Refugees and Migrants due to be adopted in September and December this year.

We all have a role to play in ensuring that the UN compacts keep human dignity at their heart.   How can you help?  Why not organise a Share the Journey walk in your parish?

If you want to chat about getting involved, please get in touch with us  or email us.

#sharethejourney

 

 

We want to say a big THANK YOU to all our volunteers

Sarah O’Kane (left) with Sue Philippart

It’s volunteers week (1-7 June) and we want to say publicly how enormously grateful we are for all that YOU, our volunteers, do in our parishes and schools.  Without your prayers, support and commitment to CAFOD we could never achieve as much as we do.  You are invaluable! THANK YOU!

This week is an ideal opportunity to ask the question: “What is it that motivates you to volunteer for CAFOD?”

One of our wonderful volunteers is Sarah O’Kane who lives in Swansea.  Sarah is an invaluable part of our Education volunteer team covering the Menevia diocese.  She is also a parish volunteer at Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Mumbles. 

Sarah gave us her response:

 “I’m motivated by trying to act as Jesus would towards others.   I like fundraising for CAFOD because as an Agency it helps to make the world a fairer place.  I feel a sense of solidarity with those combatting enormous difficulties. 

 CAFOD helps people to help themselves e.g. setting up a struggling farmer with enough fish and tools to build a pond and start a fish farm.

I like the fact that CAFOD projects are sustainable because of the way they work with local partners who have the knowledge needed in setting up and maintaining a new venture. 

I like the way CAFOD works with people regardless of their beliefs. Continue reading

Bridgend Gapper Kayleigh sets off to Sierra Leone tomorrow

Kayleigh is one of our Step into the Gap programme volunteers, who is leaving to visit our partners in Sierra Leone tomorrow.  We wish her a safe journey and will keep her and all the Gappers in our prayers.

Here’s an insight from Kayleigh on the eve of her departure on January 24.

“I have been at The Briars in Derbyshire over the past 3 months as part of CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme. Continue reading