Join a webinar on Hunger & Malnutrition in Zimbabwe by Livison our Project Leader. Thursday 22nd 5:30-6:30

Livison Chipatiso, Project Leader for CAFOD work in Zimbabwe featured in the Family Fast Day materials

Livison Chipatiso, Project Leader for CAFOD work in Zimbabwe featured in the Family Fast Day materials

Would you would like to know more about our work on hunger and malnutrition in Zimbabwe? Then register to listen to a webinar by Livison Chipatiso, who is CAFOD’s project leader in Zimbabwe. Livison will be sharing his first-hand experiences of the families and communities whose lives have been transformed by these essential projects.

The webinar will be on Thursday 22nd February from 5:30pm to 6:30pm but if you are not able to listen at that time you can always register for the webinar and then you will be sent the recording so that you can listen to it at a more convenient time.

To register for the webinar just click on this link https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8462582946392198913

From Zimbabwe to Battersea via a vegetable garden

Jed Murphy is a CAFOD volunteer in the Southwark Diocese. Jed went to speak at mass for Lent Family Fast Day last weekend at the Parish of the Sacred Heart Church in Battersea. Here, he writes about his message and experience. 

Sacred Heart Parish is a wonderfully vibrant parish located in the heart of Battersea.   It was founded in 1875 and is in the care of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

Your donations made a difference

Parish of the Sacred Heart Church, Battersea (Photo: CAFOD)

Parish of the Sacred Heart Church, Battersea (Photo: CAFOD)

This year’s Fast Day talk centred on Marian and her two sons, Tawanda & Svondo, who live in Zimbabwe.  When Tawanda was growing up, Marian didn’t have enough food to give him. It was heartbreaking to see.   When Tawanda was a teenager, Marian had another son, Svondo. He was brought up on fresh vegetables, beans and peanut butter. Now seven years old, Svondo is growing healthy and strong. He plays with his friends. He’s happy.

And the difference? Your donations to CAFOD helped to give Marian some seeds.   And she did the rest.  She worked hard month after month to grow a vegetable garden until it flourished and provided food for her family.

Discover Marian’s story in a video

No child should have to go hungry

But the message this Lent is that no child should have to go hungry.

And this Lent our donations can make double the impact:  for every pound you donate to CAFOD, the UK Government will also donate a pound.

At no extra cost, twice the number of lives can be transformed. Twice the number of children can have the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong.

This Friday go without a meal and give to CAFOD

This Friday I hope you can take part in Family Fast Day by going without a meal, or having a simple meal and giving generously to CAFOD.

The magnificent Sacred Heart Church (Photo: CAFOD)

The magnificent Sacred Heart Church (Photo: CAFOD)

During Mass, Father reminded us all that this weekend is the start of our Lentern journey towards Easter.  Even the weather seemed to point to the first few bright days of Spring on the way.

Let’s use this Lent to remember our less fortunate brother & sisters around the world.  

I wanted to say a very big thank-you to Fr Gerry O’Shaughnessy, Fr. Peter Pagac and Deacon Michael Kennedy and all the parishioners who made me feel so welcome this weekend.

As Fr O’Shaughnessy said this morning: ‘Happy Lent’.

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Photo: CAFOD

 

Weekend of Action for Lent Family Fast Fast Day start tomorrow.

Svondo, 7 years old, enjoying peanut butter. He is healthy. Thanks to CAFOD's partner who supported his mum, Marian with vegetables seeds and training..

Svondo, 7 years old, enjoying peanut butter. He is healthy. Thanks to CAFOD’s partner who supported his mum, Marian with vegetables seeds and training.

Many thanks in advance to everyone who is going to speak at mass this week-end and next week-end. Thanks for handing out envelops and encourage parishioners to donate to the Lent Family Fast Day appeal . We would like to share with you some thoughts on Fast Days from Gloria Turner an office volunteer for CAFOD in Brentwood diocese.

Having been involved in recent weeks with preparations for the approaching Lent Fast Day  I decided to find out more about why we fast and how Fast Days began.  What I discovered about the First Fast Day is an inspirational story.

Mother and Baby clinic in Dominica 1960

Jacqueline Stuyt and Sr Alicia, original volunteers for fundraising for the mother and baby healthcare clinic in Dominica

Jacqueline Stuyt and Sr Alicia, original volunteers for fundraising for the mother and baby healthcare clinic in Dominica

I was interested to learn that it all began with 2 women, Jacquie Stuyt and Elspeth Orchard, responding to a request from the people of the Caribbean island of Dominica to help raise funds for a mother-and-baby clinic.

They came together with others from the National Board of Catholic Women, the Catholic Women’s League and the Union of Catholic Mothers to organise the first Family Fast Day in 1960.

On Friday 11 March 1960 the group of Catholic women asked everyone in the family to make an act of self-denial. They asked children to give up sweets and for their parents to make just one main cheap meal for the family and give the money they saved to feed people who were hungry.

Who would have believed that such a simple idea would have such a huge impact around the world as this remains at the heart of CAFOD Family Fast Days today.

The organisers expected to raise just a few hundred pounds, but the Catholic community responded with amazing generosity, donating more than £6,000 – the equivalent of £96,000 today.  Imagine how thrilled these groups of women must have been with that response!

The group of women who organised the first Family Fast Day in 1960

The group of women who organised the first Family Fast Day in 1960

“We weren’t doing anything special, we were just doing what we thought we ought to do, remembering that we are all God’s children.” Elspeth Orchard

As well as funding the new clinic, the project also helped people to survive and make a living for themselves, including providing water and teaching people how to plant vegetable gardens. This determination to tackle the root causes of poverty and help people fulfil their potential is still at the heart of everything CAFOD does.

CAFOD Family Fast Day has always been as much about prayer as about giving. Elspeth Orchard explained:

“We were very keen that we should do it not just as a giving thing, but as a praying thing. We should really make an effort to remember people, not just by giving them food, but by doing what we could do to support them”

Opening of the centre in 1964

Opening of the centre in 1964

Opening of the centre in 1964

So this amazing story has shown me what can be achieved by a small group of people wanting to help others.  CAFOD has grown from just two women, Jacqui and Elspeth, fundraising by encouraging fasting, to the great charity organisation it is today.

My attitude to fasting is very different now compared to the days when I “gave something up for Lent” when I was growing up.

Fasting allows me to:

  • reflect on how fortunate I am in always having sufficient food
  • be more aware of those who don’t have enough food and to symbolise an act of solidarity
  • slow down my pace of life to spend more time in reflection and prayer
  • remember how fast days began with that small group of women in Dominica

We fast not only to donate money saved to those in need but also to set aside time to pray for them.  It is also a time for reflection of our own lives and lifestyles.

 “While the world around us may have changed, our efforts and values remain the same: to act, through our faith, to transform the lives of those most in need. Poverty is not part of God’s plan – we believe a better world is possible.” Chris Bain, CAFOD’s Director

I did not know how Fast Days began before I started volunteering for CAFOD.  For me, from now on, Fast Days will always bring this great story to mind and I will be much more aware of how small sacrifices from me can help other families to live more fulfilled and sustainable lives.