Speaking for CAFOD this Harvest – St Simon Stock, Walderslade

Sarah Cadwallader (CAFOD Southwark Diocesan Officer) reflects on speaking for CAFOD at St Simon Stock Parish, Walderslade:

I spent this weekend (4th & 5th October) in Walderslade with the wonderful parish of St Simon Stock speaking at each of their Masses for CAFOD’s Harvest Fast Day.

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I was warmly welcomed at the Saturday evening mass by visiting Priest Fr Michael Ryan. As I sat quietly in the church before Mass began I admired the many works of art around the church that had been created by the children’s liturgy groups. The service was very peaceful and I was very glad to be able thank the parishioners for all they do to support CAFOD and to share with them some of the work that our partners are doing, and in particular the story of Yehwah, a 37 year old farmer and small business owner in Serra Leone. CAFOD’s partner, Caritas Kenema, has helped her community to set up and run a savings and loans scheme to help them through Sierra Leone’s ‘hungry season’. See Yehwah full story here>>>

After Mass I was invited to have coffee in the parish hall, which was very welcome on a chilly evening. I heard about the wonderful activities that are happening in the parish to raise money for a new organ; card making, concerts and games evenings were among them.

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The Sunday morning Masses were accompanied by glorious sunshine, the first was at St Benedict’s school in Lordswood then back to St Simon Stock for the final Mass. At the beginning of both Masses, parish priest Fr Steve highlighted the parable of the wicked tenants in the Gospel reading and invited us all to consider ourselves as workers in the vineyard and what work we might have to do in building God’s kingdom. The Children’s artistic skills were shown again as they brought up colourful drawings and prayers of thanksgiving at the offertory.

After Mass it was announced that it was ‘Cake Sunday’ and there would be a cake sale in the hall as well and tea and coffee. It was great, not only to have a slice of cake, but also to hear such encouragement and support from the parishioners for CAFOD’s work.

Thank you to Fr Steve and to everyone at St Simon Stock for your wonderful welcome and support of CAFOD.

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