On Saturday 7th September 2019, a Family Fast Day Briefing was held at Romero House in London. Thank you to everyone who attended! Here we recap what was learnt on the day and discover what some volunteers thought of the briefing.
The water crisis
To start the day, an overview of the world’s water crisis was given. According to the World Bank, nearly half the world’s population lives with water scarcity right now. By 2050, up to 5.7 billion people will live in areas that are water-scarce. Over half of Uganda’s population do not have access to safe water. That’s 24 million people.
The UK is also in danger. In March 2019, Sir James Bevan, the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency explained that the forecasts show that in 20-25 years, the UK will face the “jaws of death” – an economic term to describe the point at which we will not have enough water to supply our needs.
Christine Allen’s Talk
Christine Allen, CAFOD’s director, spoke about Uganda – the focus country of Harvest Fast Day 2019.
Several areas of the country have not received rainfall for months, the negative effects of which include barren farmlands, dried up valley dams, and vegetation highly vulnerable to wildfires. The lack of access to safe water is one of the leading causes of disease and death in Uganda.
Christine showed photos of her visit to Uganda, where she saw the solar powered water pump built and funded by CAFOD.
She said “it was incredible meeting the bishops and cardinals across Africa. Many of whom came up to me and said “CAFOD – fantastic. We’re so grateful, thank you”.
She also spoke about multiple people coming up to her and asking “when is CAFOD going to work with us?”, and this bringing into stark focus the problem CAFOD has of lack of funds, and not being able to answer every cry for help.
The Water Usage Game
Next everyone was encouraged to think about how they use water, by playing a game. Everyone thought about whether their answer to each question was ‘always, sometimes or never’.
Some of the questions were:
- Do you turn off the tap when brushing your teeth?
- Do you have a shower instead of a bath?
- Is your shower less than 4 mins long?
Speaking at Mass
Our Harvest Fast Day story this year is about Fabiano, a 14 year old boy who was attacked while collecting water for his family in the dark early hours of the morning. There are lots of children like Fabiano in Uganda who need access to safe drinking water so they are not risking their education and safety to fetch it from miles away.
A video of Fabiano was shown, which you can watch again here. How about downloading the video and showing it in your parish?
Afterwards, Nick, a parish volunteer, kindly modeled the Parish Family Fast Day talk for everyone. The talk is available here.
We learnt the importance of having a speaker at mass. Statistics over the past few years show that CAFOD donations have been more than doubled when there has been a speaker at mass!
Does your parish have a speaker for this Harvest Family Fast Day? If you cannot find a speaker, please ring CAFOD Southwark to see if we can arrange a roaming speaker for you. If you would be willing to speak, why not have a look at our recent blog entry- Tips For Speaking at Mass.
Fast Day Packs
Next everyone had a look at the Family Fast Day packs, which include the posters, the collection envelope, the prayer card, the how to guide, and the short talk.
We were given a reminder of the family fast day dates which are:
- Harvest Family Fast Day: Friday 4th October
- Short talk and envelope collection: 28/29 September (weekend before Fast Day) or 5/6 October (weekend after Fast Day)
Because Pope Francis has declared October as having a fundraising focus, your Parish Priest may prefer you to do both the short talk and envelope collection on the last weekend of September.
A call for volunteers
To finish, Sarah said that school volunteers and Parish volunteer coordinators are needed in the Southwark Diocese, so if you know anyone in your Parish who would like to do one of these roles, please ask them to get in touch.
What Volunteers Thought of the Day
Vicky, a parish volunteer, said “I enjoyed listening to the various comments made by the volunteers. I also enjoyed meeting and listening to our new Director. I will always attend these meetings as its an ideal opportunity to meet new volunteers and share ideas!”
Another Parish Volunteer, Jean-Paul said “I appreciated most the fact that the CAFOD director was actively involved in that day. Also, the meeting produced a lot a concrete information which will help me convey the fact that we are dealing with real situations.”
More Dates for your diary
- Feast of St Francis: Friday, 4 October
- Memorial Masses: 13th November (Romero House) / 20th November (Oakwood)
- Faith in Action Days : 2nd November (Romero House) / 30th November (Oakwood)
- Lent Family Fast Day 2020: Friday, 6 March 2020
A big thank you to everyone who was able to attend the Family Fast Day Briefing on Saturday. We hope you had an informative and engaging day. If you would like any more information about Family Fast Day, please do get in touch.