Sue Bouchier ,CAFOD Parish Contact at St Dominic’s church in Waddon, reflects on her time as a CAFOD volunteer:
I became the CAFOD rep for my parish just after I was received into the Catholic church in 1997. I believe that you can’t be part of an organisation without giving something back. My parish was such a wonderful community and volunteering for CAFOD was a way to become more involved. At around the same time I was working as a teacher at Notre Dame de France where I made a friend who was involved in campaigning for the disappeared in El Salvador and Guatemala. She inspired me to work for social justice.
In our parish we also have a Justice and Peace group. As CAFOD’s work is so tied in with Justice and Peace, we work together to organise events. At CAFOD Fast Days twice a year, I write a short appeal and arrange with Father for members of the group to read it out. I am on CAFOD’s Diocesan-wide speakers list, so I am usually asked to give a talk at a neighbouring parish.
During Lent we organise a Soup Supper every Wednesday after evening Mass. Parishioners make the soup and the profits go to CAFOD. At Christmas we create ‘The Great St Dominic’s Christmas Card’ – parishioners donate £3 for a piece of sugar paper where they write or draw a Christmas greeting to the parish, to be displayed at the back of church. We are quite a diverse parish and lots of different languages appear on the card.
We have also done CAFOD campaign card signings and set up a table at the back of church after every Mass where we encourage people to sign up. A few years ago we joined with other CAFOD supporters around Croydon and took a gold paper chain petition to some of the big high street jewellers to campaign for fairtrade gold.
When I go and speak in other parishes, I am always pleased when someone comes forward to volunteer for CAFOD. I know that people are very busy, so to give of their time is so generous. It makes me happy that I have reached someone with the message of social justice.
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