Inspiring the Catholic community with speaking at mass for CAFOD

Thank you to all of those who volunteered to speak at mass for CAFOD during this last Lent Family fast Day. We know that this can be a daunting task but hopefully very rewarding. You made a huge difference and we are very grateful for your hard work. Below Mary-Jo and Celeste, CAFOD volunteers speakers,  are sharing about their speaking at mass experience. 

Lending my voice for CAFOD

Speaker volunteer Mary-Jo recounts her experience with CAFOD and the rewarding nature of being a speaker at mass.

Speaker volunteer Mary-Jo recounts her experience with CAFOD and the rewarding nature of being a speaker at mass.

Mary-Jo first heard about CAFOD from her parish. One of CAFOD’s parish volunteers gave a talk during Lent in 2017. She ” was very impressed with the way the speaker volunteer was able to inform and confidently reach out to the parish about the Lent Fast appeal.” She decided to learn more about CAFOD. She responded to an advert in her Parish newsletter to ‘Lend a voice.’ She was able to connect with new volunteers at a CAFOD induction and training event in Romero House. Upon reflection of her experience she said she received meaningful feedback enabled her to give her first talk on the 10th March 2019 at the 5:30 pm Mass in her church. Her appeal was received by applause and praise as parishioners later enquired about her appeal and a donation to the Bangladesh project. Although she had never given a talk before, especially not in front of more than one hundred people, through training and support from CAFOD she was able to prepare and focus on the significant themes of the appeal. She says, ” I am happy to be a speaker volunteer for CAFOD because their volunteers are able to make a real difference to the lives of their brothers and sisters throughout the world.”

Become a speaker at mass by calling us on 0208 466 9901

Why speaking at mass for CAFOD?


Celeste is a Parish Volunteer Coordinator in the Cathedral deanery in Southwark. She spoke at mass this Family Fast Day for the first time

Parish volunteers Coordinator Celeste, offers her remarks on volunteering with CAFOD. She first became involved with us after working as a professional. After some reflection she decided she wanted to make serving others a greater priority in her life. Her faith and helping others took a more central role in her life. In 2018 she emailed us. Sarah called her and told her about the different volunteer opportunities here at CAFOD and she was able to chose what best interested her.  She was inspired by CAFOD’s dedication to working in accordance with Catholic Social Teaching. She says, “CAFOD goes out to help people in the greatest need globally, regardless of their religion or nationality, and this is important to me as we are all brothers and sisters in God’s family after all.”

The value of speaker training

In January 2019 Celeste came to two awesome speaker training events at Romero House. At these trainings we gave her feedback which enabled her to give her first talk on the 9th March 2019 at 6:00 pm Mass. She had never spoken at Mass before so she wanted to take part in a “safe, non-judgemental training session.” She says that through this she was able to overcome some of her nerves. It helped to hear from an experienced speaker and to learn about the Lent appeal itself. At the session she was able to meet with other volunteers and practice talking based on the templates provided to the volunteers. Since the volunteers practiced giving the 4 minute talk to each other, they learned about each of their speaking styles and how to use props e.g. the Lent donation envelope and poster to illustrate their appeal.

Speaking at mass isn’t that scary

Learn about our Family fast day. Pictured here is the newest volunteer of our Southwark team, Mariola Wilk.

Learn about our Family fast day. Pictured here is the newest volunteer of our Southwark team, Mariola Wilk.

Celeste said that it “was almost like being on stage and waiting for the ‘cue’ to do your bit!” Her Priest gave her a warm welcome and although her first talk was in a Cathedral, which was daunting, once she was at the altar she was able to relax. After Mass she received applause and thanks for giving the talk. Many parishioners also enquired more about an appeal for a donation to the Bangladesh project and some even asked her about becoming a CAFOD volunteer.

Celeste’s tips for speaking at mass

  • Make it personal and add personal anecdotes
    • Celeste went to school at one of the parishes and she mentioned it which led to a connection with the greater congregation
  • Arrive early to introduce yourself to the Priest and so that you can sit in the front for easier access to the altar
  • Practice your talk in front of the mirror or with family and friends
    • “This is great to make sure that you are comfortable with what you are saying and to make it come out more naturally and not like you are reading off of a script”
  • Remember to smile because it makes people feel good and adds warmth to your tone and message
  • “Convey that we are ALL CAFOD, both you and the congregation, and we have a part to play and example to set”

What you gain from speaking at mass

Speaking at mass is rewarding for you and for your listeners. Celeste remarked that rather than “waste” some of her free time watching TV she feels better doing something that is meaningful and will hopefully make a difference to the communities in the U.K. and abroad. The feeling of making a difference in the world brings the speakers more confidence that they are really making a difference. Celeste said that the talk also increased her confidence in speaking to large audiences. She was able to meet new people from different parishes and realise how parishes can organise and work together to increase parishioner participation. Speaking at mass gave our speaker volunteers new perspectives and experience and helped build their character.

Thank you Celeste and Mary-Jo for your inspirational testimonial. If you have also been inspired please email us on or call us on 0208 466 9901 to volunteer today.


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