Min is a CAFOD volunteer. Here she talks about taking part, last Saturday, in a CAFOD Volunteer Day for volunteers and those thinking about giving their time.
I found the day truly inspiring, and humbling. It opened my eyes to the difference CAFOD makes in countries devastated by war, climate change, famine and poverty. It helped me understand how each prayer, gift and action supports its amazing work.
Making a difference
Too often, we witness the cruel impact of an international crisis. But what happens when the TV cameras roll away? We learnt how CAFOD stays on to help communities rebuild their lives through education, development work and how CAFOD speaks out against injustice.
But it was hearing first-hand so many moving stories that helped me grasp the real difference this makes to people’s daily lives. Such as how we worked with partners to help communities in Sierra Leone stop the spread of Ebola, educating people about risks, providing hygiene kits, ensuring safe burials, delivering food to quarantined areas and villages that were unable farm because of the disease.
Sister Clara spoke about Households in Distress, which supports those with living with HIV and AIDS in Zambia. This CAFOD programme helps communities gain farming and small business skills so they can adapt to the impact of climate change. It has funded school fees and community schools. Sister Clara talked movingly of Lillian, a widow living with HIV. She is a very independent woman and with CAFOD’s help she has managed to build a house, installed solar lighting and is now building a shop in her village. We also heard about CAFOD’s human rights work in South America working with partners such as academics, grass roots organisations, the media and youth groups.
A message from CAFOD: Sister Clara’s project or the one run by Juan Carlos our Human rights officer in Central America would not happen without you. Thank you so much for all for your constant and amazing support during our family Fast Days. Your prayers and gifts are making a difference.
Don’t forget, time is running out for this year Lent appeal…. but you can still make double the difference to children who are suffering from malnutrition. The UK Government will match your donation till Saturday 12 May.
Living out the message of Pope Francis
I took part in a workshop, ‘Living out the message of Pope Francis’. We discussed how we as Catholics can care for our world, the common home we share. I learned so much about the practical and spiritual things we can do to respond to his invitation to be a Christian in every aspect of our lives. How we can live out his message as an individual and as a community.
Listening and talking about Pope Francis’ ‘Living Out’ message made us think about how we as Catholics respond to the environmental challenges our world faces, how in our daily lives we can love those in need by sharing wealth. And how we can love our world through living more simply and sustainably. I always enjoy the story of the Good Samaritan and was particularly inspired by the need to treat every moment as a gift from God by taking time to listen, to open our hearts to those on the fringes of society and share responsibility for others and the world.
Read the notes from this workshop: Living-out-the message-pope francis-CAFOD-Susy-Brouard
Campaigning to support CAFOD
I also attended a workshop on Campaigns. Campaigns are so important to CAFOD’s work. It was great to share ideas about what makes a successful campaign such as ‘Make poverty History’. We talked about the key messages and campaigns CAFOD is promoting right now such as ‘Share the Journey’. This was inspired by Pope Francis’ special concern for migrants and refugees. In September world leaders will agree two new global contracts and Pope Frances calls on Catholics to campaign to place the dignity of people on the move at heart of these contracts.
Share the journey – walk around the world
In the afternoon, thirty eight people went on a Share the Journey walk in the Imperial War museum’s gardens. They walked 23 miles altogether to show their solidarity with refugees and migrants. These miles will be added up to our 29,400 mile journey – the distance around the world – we aim to walk with all the CAFOD supporters to bear witness to the global refugee crisis.
Marine who was on the walk said: ” Each one of us only walked 0.6 miles. It was a small journey, but together we are making greater strides. It will be our small contribution to CAFOD totaliser”.
Look at our totaliser online now to see how far we’ve travelled!
Will you walk with us and add your miles to our grand total from across England and Wales? Download your Share the Journey parish resources now.
Being part of the day was a privilege and a joy and I can honestly say I left Romero House with a little more understanding of how to live my faith in action.
To find out more about CAFOD volunteer days:
- call for an informal chat on 020 8466 9901
- or email firstname.lastname@example.org