Running Your Own Fast Day

Nicole Crosbourne, a CAFOD volunteer, provides information and advertises for an upcoming CAFOD event. 


A Community in El Salvador

This year’s Harvest Fast Day is less than six weeks away. As we are celebrating 100 years since the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero, it seemed appropriate to have our Harvest Fast Day focused on San Salvador, where he was a guiding light to many poor communities.

There is still time to book your place at one of our Harvest Fast Day Briefings this September, including one at Romero House during our CAFOD Essentials Day on Saturday 9th September. We will provide you with all the resources you need and everything you need to know about our goal to focus on improving agriculture and healthcare, reducing risks of disasters, and creating peace.


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Harvest Fast Day 2016 at the Holy Family parish, Maidstone

At each of our briefings you will get the chance to hear about people such as Endelmira, a farmer living with land which is hard to cultivate. Together, we can make a difference in El Salvador and in the words of Blessed Oscar Romero, we can ‘plant the seeds which one day will grow.’

We have plenty of resources online relating to this year’s Harvest Fast Day appeal in El Salvador, including posters, prayer cards and short talks you can deliver if you are interested in speaking at mass. You can also find some briefing notes, and a plan for a liturgy you could run for the children in your parish.

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Harvest Fast Day 2016 at St. Peter’s School, Greenwich

If you are interested in running your own Fast Day within your parish, come to our workshop on CAFOD Essentials Day at Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7JB. We will give you advice, ideas and information to get you started. During the day there will be a wide range of workshops and reflections all related to CAFOD and how to get involved in the work we do. Not to mention, a bring and share lunch and the chance to meet new people.

Book your place at for our Essentials Day next Saturday 9th September to find out more about life in El Salvador, Harvest Fast Day and how your parish can get involved. You can also contact us on or 02084 66 99 01 for more information.

Become a Live Simply Award Community

By Nicole Crosbourne – Administrative Volunteer

CAFOD’s Live Simply Award provides a great opportunity for catholic communities to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’. Together parishes, schools, religious orders and chaplaincies can “Work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”. CAFOD will be holding a Live Simply Award workshop at our Essentials Day on 9th September all about the Live Simply Award and how you can get your own communities involved.

Live Simply Parish organiser Rita Belletty with their award

Live Simply Parish Organiser Rita Belletty with her Award

The Live Simply Award is presented to communities who have shown they can live simply in solidarity with people in poverty, whilst living sustainably with creation. In the past, these communities have encouraged people to walk to church or school, promoted recycling, and joined climate change campaigns. They have also supported Fair-trade stalls or donated to local food banks. Overall the award helps us to celebrate what we already have done and inspires us to do more. It will help your community to live, not just more simply, but also more fully.

An important part of our faith is to care for creation and to develop respect for other people in the world. Becoming a live simply parish helps you go deeper and to take action” – Paul Kelly, St. Joseph’s parish, Lancaster diocese.

To apply for a Live Simply Award you can sign up online to express your interest. Once you’ve done this, you can start developing an action plan to accommodate current activities within your community and new projects you’d like to undertake. CAFOD will support you with resources, and by visiting your community to celebrate what you’ve been doing. We will also celebrate and share your achievements.

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The Live Simply Award Group at St. James’ Church, Petts Wood

In July 2014, St. James’ Church in Petts Wood became the very first parish in the Archdiocese of Southwark to receive the award. The parishioners created a beautiful wildlife garden and worship space, whilst reducing the church’s carbon footprint by nearly 10 percent. They also decided to mark baptisms and birthdays by planting over 70 trees in British woodlands, support local food banks and raise money to support those living in poverty in Bangladesh.

In the words of parishioner Joe Falzon, who lead the projects, participating in the Live Simply Award challenges us all to think about what we do within our own society to have a worldwide impact. Since 2014 several other communities across multiple dioceses have joined them in the challenge to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity.

Essentials Day for tweet

Last CAFOD Essentials Day

If your catholic community would be interested, sign up online and you can access various resources to get you started, from our step-by-step guide to 100 Live Simply ideas for your community. Together we can reduce emissions and take action on climate change. What will you do to make a difference?

For more information and ideas, come to our workshop on Essentials Day on 9th September from 9:30am in Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road. There will be several other workshops, reflections and a briefing for this year’s Harvest Fast Day. Register your place on Eventbrite to join us.

Alternatively,  you can email for further information about the award.

How Do We Integrate Our Spirituality and Faith?

“How do we integrate our spirituality and Faith?” is the title of one of the many workshops offered at the CAFOD Essentials Day on 9th September 2017 in Romero House, London. This article is to give you an insight of the workshop. During the next few weeks, we will post more blogs introducing the different workshops we have to offer.

popeOur spirituality is important because it allows us to connect to and reflect on our God. When our spirituality is integral, our relationship with God deeply and profoundly affects our relationships with ourselves, others and with creation. It is not segregated, as none of these relationships are cut off from one another.

During the workshop we will discuss, reflect upon and try to understand how we can live out the message of Pope Francis. If we were to review our past actions over the last 24 hours, would our faith really be evident by the way we live? Rational facts and doctrine alone will not help us to live out “our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork” (LS #222). It is both education and spirituality which will inspire us, motivate us and make us feel passionate about this issue. Our spirituality will enable us to see God in all things (LS#223).

In Laudato Si’ we are instructed to live a life which is both contemplative and prophetic (LS #222). We can do this by following 6 steps;

landscapeFirst, we must integrate our spirituality and our faith. Pope Francis advocates that in order to face the enormous crisis that humanity has created, we need to go back to our roots. The teachings of the Gospel all have direct consequences for our way of thinking, feeling and living. Therefore, we need to be open to an ‘ecological conversion’ whereby “the effect of our encounter with Jesus Christ becomes evident in our relationship with the world around us” (LS #217).

Following this, we also need to be present against rapidification as “love can be connected or disconnected at the whim of the consumer” (AL #39). Every day we need to cultivate our daily virtues. We not only appreciate and acknowledge others, but also “come up with new ways” to do so. We must also live mercifully, “to proclaim the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel” (AL #309).people

In the words of Pope Francis, love is “Overflowing with small gestures of mutual care… it makes itself felt in every action hat seeks to build a better world”. By following these words, we are also acknowledging our interconnectedness which is equally as important in having an integral spirituality.

Finally, we should celebrate our faith and engage in fasting. We need to remember Sunday, the Sabbath rooted in the creation story found in Genesis. Sunday should be a day of rest and a day when we receive the Eucharist, which, ideally, “sheds its light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor” (LS# 237).

disconnectWe need to ask ourselves how we can live out this message more fully both as individuals and as a community. How we can live out and encourage others to live it out this message?

Find out more at our workshop on CAFOD Essentials Day . The event will take place on Saturday  9th September at Romero House between 9:30am and 3:15pm. Join us for workshops, reflections and a bring and share lunch. You can also find out how to get involved with CAFOD, whether it is through your parish, school or social media. We will also be holding a Harvest Fast Day briefing about this year’s appeal in El Salvador.