From the U.S. to London: my experience as a CAFOD intern

Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern, is a university student from the United States. He has been working for CAFOD for nearly a semester, after which he will return to the US. He describes his experience working for CAFOD.

As a university student from the United States, I made the decision to undertake an internship in London to work as a Parish Events Coordinator for CAFOD. I was ecstatic after accepting the job because I figured it would provide me with a great opportunity to connect with local parishes while in London. In fact, CAFOD gave me just that, and so much more.


Sidney Magdaong discovering some of London’s featured landmarks

Though I was still adjusting to the urban London environment, CAFOD had me start right away after I arrived. I was a little nervous on my first day (especially since it was my first time using public transport by myself), but the staff and administration were hospitable beyond my expectations. In fact, they helped smooth the transition of adapting to London life.


One of the greatest things I gained from working in CAFOD is the expansion of my communication skills and the exposure to several new tasks. I began working as a social media intern, travelling between the headquarters in Shortlands and the offices in Romero House. I learned how to write my first blog as well as how to use Twitter to promote CAFOD events. It took a day or two to get used to, but soon I became proficient in blog-writing and I was able to send out a weekly blog in addition to several Tweets per week. After that, I gained enough experience to handle CAFOD’s monthly e-bulletin.

The majority of my writing and office work centred around Harvest Day, one of CAFOD’s biggest fundraisers. I wrote most of my blogs and Tweets about Fast Day, and I aided in coordinating Mass speakers in different parishes. Sometimes my promotion of Fast Day was in the form of ringing parish priests by asking. After Fast Day, my work shifted to data management involving money donations received from each parish.

Overall, I cannot express how honoured I am to have been a part of CAFOD. In addition to strengthening my communication and networking abilities, I learned so much about global crises and how CAFOD and its partners are responding to these emergencies. In turn, I learned how Catholic Social Teaching can play a tremendous, applicable role in the world and in the local community. As a Christian, I can say that CAFOD has well-informed me of my duties to make a difference, and CAFOD has been an outlet that has allowed me to accomplish just that. Though I will be leaving after this semester, I hope that my role can be passed on to someone who shares the passions that I have encountered here at CAFOD.

That being said, we are looking for 2 office volunteers to undertake this special role. We would like one permanent volunteer who could come to the office once a week  and another short term volunteer who can help out one or two times a week during January and February to focus on the Lent Fast Day Campaign, which will involve working with the data base, making phone calls, and aiding in social media promotion. If you are interested, please contact Southwark Volunteer Centre or call us on 020 8466 9901.


Write to your MP and be a voice for the voiceless.

Your local MP is your link to Parliament. They influence decisions which affect the future of the world’s poorest people. We are looking for people who are willing to write to their MP a couple of times a year.  A CAFOD MP Correspondent (MPC) ensures that the voices of the world’s poorest are heard in the corridors of power. So please consider signing up here.

Thomas Kimaru and Fiona in Parliament for Power to Be campaign

Thomas Kimaru and Fiona campaigning in Parliament

If you would like to find out more about the role  of an MPC then please come to  a training session on Tuesday 5th December at Amigo Hall next to St George’s Cathedral London SE1 7HY from 11am to 15.00pm with a shared lunch at 1.00pm. Come along to pick up some top lobbying tips and to:

  • Find out the latest insider information from parliament.
  • Discover top tips from the experts on how best to build a relationship with your MP.
  • Hear about CAFOD’s upcoming campaign plans
  • Meet and share ideas with like-minded campaigners.

Please sign up here for the training. 

We would also like you to use this as an opportunity for you to build up your relationship with your MP. Last year thousands of CAFOD supporters wrote messages of welcome, respect and love for refugees around the world. These will be displayed in Parliament in an exhibition during this week. Invite your MP to meet you in parliament after the training and see the exhibition together.

Memorial mass – remembering our dearly departed loved ones and supporters

Remembering our dearly departed loved ones and supporters is a wonderful and most precious gift, therefore in November there is a double blessing of celebrating All Saints and All Souls Day. You are warmly invited to attend the Southwark Diocese memorial mass on November 19 at 11:30 in St William of York in Forest Hill.

Why November?
November is an important month for the Church and the Catholic community.  The month begins with All Saints Day (when we remember the saints in heaven) and All Souls Day (when we remember all the faithful departed). We are given the opportunity to pray for those who are no longer with us. Throughout November we are once again holding our annual Memorial Masses across the country to honour all our friends who have died.

What are the Memorial Masses and why do we have them?

SWOY - Chuch in Brockley

Memorial Mass at St William of York, Brockley

Many of us can find it hard to talk about bereavement without worrying that we’ll make people feel uncomfortable. The Masses offer an opportunity for CAFOD supporters, parishioners, volunteers and members of the wider public to get together and celebrate the lives of those we’ve loved and lost. CAFOD is immensely blessed by the generosity and dedication of our supporters. Sadly, many of our supporters over the years have now passed away and our Memorial Masses also allow us to pay a special tribute to these supporters in order to mark our appreciation for their years of kindness. The Masses take place in most dioceses, and last year we had our main Mass in Blexlyheath, so this year you are all invited to the Memorial Mass for Southwark Diocese on Sunday 19 November at 11:30 in Lewisham. 

Books of Remembrance


Remembering our departed loved ones and supporters

As active members of the Catholic community, this month is the natural time in the year for us to remember our loved ones and give thanks for the faithful service of our supporters, therefore many churches have a Book of Remembrance to which parishioners can add the names of their loved ones to be prayed for during the month. The names of deceased supporters are also collected each year in our Books of Remembrance which  includes all supporters who in the last year have left a gift to CAFOD in their will, as well as all those remembered by a Candlelight Fund as a donation in their memory and all those dear to your hearts. We also add the names of  our loved ones. The Rememberance books are updated each year at CAFOD’s head office and there is a section in which you can add extra names.

Candlelight Fund

Kathy who has open a candle light fund in memory of her son Robbie

Building a lasting memorial to a loved one is a beautiful way to raise funds for a worthy cause. This fund can be  a personal act of rememberance or you can invite others to join in. A Candlelight fund has no targets, deadlines or minimum amounts, therefore it is convienent way for friends and family to donate comfortably as and when it suits them. For example, Kathleen Szczegolski from London, has supported Catholic charity, CAFOD for many years and decided after retiring to begin volunteering in CAFOD’s Southwark Office.  A couple of years after her son Robbie died,  Kathleen decided to set up a Candlelight Fund in Robbie’s memory. Kathleen says that, “Robbie’s candlelight fund has raised over £5,800 now and Robbie would be very happy to know that he is helping people around the world”.

The Masses are organised by our amazing volunteers. The Memorial Mass for Southwark Diocese will be on Sunday 19 November at 11:30am at St William of York church, 4 Brockley Park, Forest Hill SE23 1PS. Or see our website for a full list of all venues across England and Wales here. If you have any questions or would like to include a name in our Books of Remembrance or to set up a Candlelight Fund, please get in touch with Roisin at or call 020 7095 5348. Alternatively, you are welcome to add a loved one’s name by sending us an email at  before Thursday 16 November.