Bishop Drainey of Middlesborough Diocese travelled to Colombia with Chris Bain, CAFOD Director, to meet Amparo who featured in this year’s Lent ‘Give it up!’ Campaign. Here, Bishop Drainey reflects on his visit:
“I met Amparo and her companions in the place where they work. Given her story and theirs, you might think that they would feel so bitter and victimised. However, they were attempting to make a life for themselves and their families. They were trying to live with some dignity and freedom, and the wonderful thing is that with a bit of help from us via CAFOD, they were achieving it.
We take so many things for granted, especially freedom and security. We might complain about our political parties and the decisions they make on our behalf. However, generally speaking most of us have the freedom and security we need to live our lives with reasonable dignity and purpose. And even if we don’t agree with our political leaders, we can expect a certain minimum help and support. This is not true for Amparo and her friends. As a result of the problems of violence and intimidation which exist in some parts of Colombia and because of the lack of social and political infrastructure in the regional areas, freedom security and basic support are not available.
But the fact of the matter is that it is YOU who have made the difference. Amparo and her friends and many others we met know it is you who have helped them and they were continually asking us to let you know how good it is to have brothers and sisters who think of them in their need.
I come back from Colombia very much
inspired by the people we met. Despite what is lacking in their lives, they are extremely grateful for what they have and they are especially aware of being part of the family of the Church, knowing that they have brothers and sisters in England and Wales who pray for them and support them. We too have brothers and sisters in Colombia who support us in prayer and in whose lives we are playing a vital part. Knowing things like this is one of the reasons why for me Lent is a joyful season. I hope it is for you also.”