CAFOD volunteer Andy Wansbury, reflects on his role as a campaigns volunteer coordinator and how it is an expression of his faith and shares how he will get involved in the next few weeks and is inviting you to come along.
As a result of the current pandemic it has been much harder to practice our Catholic faith. As the crisis grew the church removed the obligation to attend Sunday mass, the celebration of the sacraments had to be suspended, churches were closed to the public, priests could only say mass in church in private. Visits to the sick and housebound could no longer happen. All these communal acts had to cease to help stop the coronavirus pandemic.
Living my faith without the sacraments
How then were we to live out our faith without access to mass and the sacraments? For me being a practicing Catholic has always been more than just going to church on Sunday. A line from one sermon that has always stayed with me is “It not going to church that makes you a Christian it is what you do when you leave church that makes you a Christian”. Attending mass is a vitally important part of Catholic life, it is where we can get educated about our faith, the inspiration, and the graces we need to live out our God given mission as Catholics. The roles that we fulfill when we leave church are many and varied some apply directly to supporting parish life such as being a server, a choir member or a catechist, some roles take us into the wider world as community leaders, emergency service and key workers, or campaigners for justice. In recent years the role I have found is supporting those people living in the less well-developed parts of the world by volunteering for the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development or CAFOD or as it is better known.
Being a Campaign Volunteer Coordinator
My role with CAFOD is as a Campaign Volunteer Coordinator in which I help to encourage and support volunteers to take part in CAFOD’s social justice campaigns, as well and campaign actively myself. One of CAFOD’s current campaigns is “Messages To The Brave”. In this campaign we are asked to send a Christmas cards (via CAFOD’s website) to brave people, often risking their own personal safety, around the world who are standing up and campaigning on behalf of their own communities many of which are the poorest and most disadvantaged people around the world
Building a better world
Working for justice in this way and encouraging others in the Catholic community to do that same forms part of my Christian life and service. I am able to make a difference and take action as part of wider catholic community to build and better and more just world.
This is something that everyone can do and this month CAFOD is holding a online ‘Faith into Action day’ on the Saturday 14 November, 11am-4pm the theme is ‘Building a better world after the pandemic’. This is a chance to reflect on what changes we want to see after the coronavirus crisis and how we can ensure plans for recovering from this crisis tackle poverty, inequality and the climate emergency. We’ll also look at how we can turn Pope Francis’s most recent call to action into a reality, learning about his new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.
Whether your role is with CAFOD or elsewhere this Faith into Action day on Saturday 14th November will help inspire you to take your Catholic mission in a post coronavirus world forward. In today’s environment with mass attendance difficult to achieve because of the COVID 19 lets put our faith in action. I take inspiration from the letter of St James ‘by my works I will show you my faith.’ If we cannot be in church, we can still live our Christian lives through our actions.