🙏 pray,👀 think and 🚶 walk to support refugees

Parishioners from all over Southwark have been gathering together to organise walks as part CAFOD’s response to Pope Francis’ Share the Journey campaign. Together they prayed, reflected and walked.  Discover some of those walks, get inspired and plan on how you are going to add your steps before September. 

See our totaliser for how far we’ve already walked

The steps we’ve taken!

Get inspired by some of the imaginative ways people have added their steps.

CAFOD supporters walking for Refugees and migrants as part of the Share the Journey campaign launched by Pope Francis

CAFOD supporters walking for Refugees and migrants as part of the Share the Journey campaign launched by Pope Francis.

Kathleen O’Brien of Our Lady of Mt Carmel said: “Most of our parish Share the Journey walkers completed the entire six and a half miles from Faversham to Seasalter, walking along part of the Saxon Shore Way, an ancient pilgrimage route.

The weather was glorious and everyone enjoyed the views over the sea wall, across the beautiful blue water in the estuary to the Isle of Sheppey beyond. On the way we read and reflected on refugee stories from around the world. It was sobering to hear the latest UN statistic that one person is forced from their homes every two seconds. We traced the shoreline all the way to Seasalter, where Una and Derek welcomed us into their beachfront home for a much-needed cup of tea.”

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Give just a few hours and help improve lives

Angela and Colin Dowling, whose help made Lent Family Fast Day such a success, have both been temporary office volunteers at CAFOD Southwark in Shortlands. They told us about their experience and how you could become a temporary volunteer.  

Angela and Colin Dowling, whose help made Lent Family Fast Day such a success, have both been temporary office volunteer at CAFOD Southwark in Shortlands

Angela and Colin Dowling, whose help made Lent Family Fast Day such a success, have both been temporary office volunteer at CAFOD Southwark in Shortlands

We’d heard about CAFOD’s work to improve the lives of those living in poverty through our church. We already volunteered at a local hospice and dementia café. When an advertisement appeared in our church newsletter asking for short term support for the Lent Family Fast Day project we were able to offer two days a week for six weeks to fit in with our other commitments. It was a great opportunity to offer our time and skills and to learn more about CAFOD.

Come to an Understanding CAFOD day to find out more about short term volunteering

How easy was it to apply as a temporary volunteer?

Very. We contacted the Southwark office and there was as simple application form. As we would be working at a school in Shortlands there was also a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. It took about three weeks in all and then we had a start date. Everyone was really helpful and made the process painless. We could have also been based in Romero House in Waterloo.

Sign-up to volunteer with CAFOD

Did you get support?

Eileen and Marine from the CAFOD Southwark Volunteer  Centre during a Family Fast Day Soup Lunch

Eileen and Marine from the CAFOD Southwark Volunteer Centre during a Family Fast Day Soup Lunch

Yes, lots. We took part in on-line learning and webinars which gave us a good understanding of CAFOD. There was also a safeguarding briefing. Eileen and Marine at the Southwark CAFOD office were very welcoming and friendly and always ready to answer any questions. We were also given very good background briefings.

Was the experience rewarding?

We thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to dust off some old skills and put our work caps on again. It was good to see the Lent Family Fast Day project from start to finish with clear objectives to aim for. We met some lovely volunteers working on other CAFOD projects such as setting up a dementia café. Marine and Eileen were very supportive but they also let us get on with planning the work and then doing it. We felt trusted and that was great. We learnt such a lot about CAFOD and the geography and structure of our diocese. We’d describe our time on the project like getting a burst of oxygen and have been left with a great respect for the CAFOD’s work.

Would you do it again?

CAFOD Southwark volunteers during a Christmas Lunch

CAFOD Southwark volunteers during a Christmas Lunch

When our CAFOD mentors said they’d like to contact us later in the year about the Harvest Festival Time appeal, we did not say ‘no’!

Said Marine from the Southwark CAFOD office: “Angela and Colin made a huge difference to the success of the project and thanks to them we could contact all the parishes in the diocese of Southwark.”

Your turn to volunteer for a short term

Have you ever thought of volunteering but don’t think you have the time? CAFOD is looking for short term and temporary volunteers. It’s flexible and means even if your precious time is short you can still put your faith into action and make a real difference to world poverty.

These are some of the options you might like to think about:

  • Helping out for a few weeks each year
  • Volunteering for a one-off project such as the Lent Family Fast Day or our Share the Journey campaign
  • Blogging

How do I apply?

Our Southwark Volunteer Centre office would love to hear from you.

and

Come to a discovery day for volunteer to find out more on Saturday 28 April in Romero House – 9:30am till 1pm

What the Stations of the Cross mean to me

Rachelle Thevathas, CAFOD parish volunteer at Holy Cross church in CATFORD, has organised the Station of the Cross in her parish. She told us what it meant for her .

When I was approached by a member of my Parish to lead the stations of the cross as CAFOD parish volunteer – I was thrilled!

The stations of the Cross help me to reflect on Jesus’ final journey

Stations of the Cross at Holy Cross in Catford

Stations of the Cross at Holy Cross in Catford

For me the stations of the cross is a great way of reflecting Jesus’ final journey, and his great sacrifice; it allows me to evaluate my life and my choices and puts into perspective the greatness of sacrifice and fasting. At times I associate the word fasting with food – however giving up my time for something – CAFOD volunteering for example – or someone, going out of my way to do a good deed for another are all examples of fasting – I give up a part of myself for other people.

Discover how I organised the Stations of the Cross at Holy Cross

Don Lazaro's artisan workshop, painting CAFOD's Romero El Salvador crosses.

Don Lazaro’s artisan workshop, painting CAFOD’s Romero El Salvador crosses.

I gave a call to the Southwark CAFOD office to get some ideas. I discovered that all the resources were on CAFOD website : a power point with pictures and a word document to organise the Stations of the Cross. 

I decided to only use the leader’s notes.  On the day, we had two alter severs walk around the church, from station to station. Using CAFOD’s resources I and another speaker talked through each station – giving a bible reading that linked to the station, and a brief reflection where we meditated on our thoughts, and then finished each station with a small prayer.

I reflected on CAFOD’s project

Whilst doing the Stations of the cross in my parish, I was able to reflect on CAFOD’s project in Zimbabwe; the sacrifices the people there must undergo without a choice, really put into perspective how fortunate and lucky I am.

In what ways does Jesus’s final journey affect you?

This Holy Week meditate on Jesus’ journey to the cross with our brothers and sisters around the world.