Sheila Faucher, CAFOD Volunteer Speaker, describes her experience of Speaking for CAFOD in Parishes:
I became a CAFOD speaker at mass quite by accident! Two years ago I walked into Romero House with no clear idea of what I was going to do for CAFOD, all I knew is that I had made a decision to volunteer for something that I believed in and trusted.
I had been approached by a CAFOD volunteer within my own parish of St.Thomas More East Dulwich to ‘come to a meeting’ and although only five people turned up for that meeting, I was struck by the humility of the five parishioners who were present.
A candle was lit, the meeting was opened with a CAFOD prayer written on a small card and a story was told.
It is that story of poverty; of neighbour and our shared humanity as a global community that resonated so deeply with me not only as a mother, a sister, a wife, a friend but also particularly as a Christian.
As a volunteer for CAFOD and as a speaker at Mass, the mystery of Easter begins with my commitment at the start of lent to witness and to respond to what Pope Francis in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium calls the ‘God of love; to see God in others and to go forth from oneself to seek the good of others’
I believe It is through my faith guided by that commitment and ‘missionary impulse’ to ‘seek the good of others’, which prompted me to say ‘yes’ when asked by CAFOD if I could speak at a local parish.
A week before speaking at a parish I will visit and introduce myself to the parish priest, find out when he would like me to speak (that is during the homily or after communion) and also to check if the CAFOD envelopes have been delivered!
The Parish talk is normally posted to me before Lent. This gives me time to read through it and familiarize myself with the text but for me prayer and scripture must inform this process for it is through the Gospel that the plight of the poor is transformed into a rich reality at once present and personal for me.
I say personal because it is through this intimacy with the word who is Christ that I, that we, are each called to proclaim the gospel in charity, love and service. This small thing that I do only once a year has changed me in my witness as a Catholic ‘to hear the cry of the poor’, to be scandalized enough to be moved and to walk with the poor in their struggle for justice and equality.
Without doubt an enduring memory of being a CAFOD speaker is the number of people that come up to speak to me after mass either to find out more about CAFODs work, to volunteer or just simply to say thank you. I pray for those beginning their journey of volunteering with CAFOD, that they too will be filled with the Holy Spirit and will encounter the face of Christ in the poorest people of this world.