Be inspired – CAFOD volunteer day

Min is a CAFOD volunteer. Here she talks about taking part, last Saturday, in a CAFOD Volunteer Day for volunteers and those thinking about giving their time. 

I found the day truly inspiring, and humbling. It opened my eyes to the difference CAFOD makes in countries devastated by war, climate change, famine and poverty. It helped me understand how each prayer, gift and action supports its amazing work.

Making a difference

CAFOD volunteers enjoying an International workshop lead by sister Clara from Zambia

CAFOD volunteers enjoying an International workshop led by sister Clara from Zambia

Too often, we witness the cruel impact of an international crisis. But what happens when the TV cameras roll away? We learnt how CAFOD stays on to help communities rebuild their lives through education, development work and how CAFOD speaks out against injustice.

But it was hearing first-hand so many moving stories that helped me grasp the real difference this makes to people’s daily lives. Such as how we worked with partners to help communities in Sierra Leone stop the spread of Ebola, educating people about risks, providing hygiene kits, ensuring safe burials, delivering food to quarantined areas and villages that were unable farm because of the disease. Continue reading

Fishing for hope – the hope of our future

 Mick Shepherd is a CAFOD Volunteer from St Joseph in Greenwich. He lives near Norwood Lake. He is sharing with us his experience of how fishing is about hope and how hope is at the core of his volunteering. Mick has a more meaningful understanding of the joy of fishing and the hope of the catch. Here is what he says – 

Peter - a local fisherman at Norwood Lake

Peter our local fisherman is always hopeful of a great catch at Norwood Lake. We too should possess an abundance of hope.

‘Norwood Lake is quite near my house, a large lake teeming with fish and wildlife. I walk there most days but have never understood fishing – I see the same men sitting there every day, lines in the water, waiting for a catch. They always throw the fish back so I think, ‘What’s the point? Why spend every afternoon just sitting, waiting? Then yesterday I got it! – it’s about hope, they are sitting there and they are hoping! In fact, they are full of hope renewed with each day’s fishing!

Without hope, we ware all finished: in the morning we wake up hoping it will be fine; we go shopping, hoping to find the   things we need. We hope that the children have a good day at school (the first thing we ask when they get home): later on, we hope they will pass their exams; we arrange a holiday, hoping it will be sunny: we turn on the TV, hoping to see our favourite programme. When hospitalised and needing an operation, we hope it will be successful(we dread hearing ‘It’s hopeless, there’s no hope of recovery’). In prison, the only thing keeping prisoners alive is the hope that they will gain early release for good behaviour – without hope, imprisonment is a death sentence.

Peter - Bringing in the catch

The hope of the catch is symbolic of life’s hope

Once, I brought a pupil (Kriya, 10) to St. Joseph’s; Kriya was a Hindu, keen to learn about Christianity. He joined the children at Thursday mass while I led them in song. Afterwards I took him round the church, showing him the stations of the Cross and the statues. Afterwards he said ‘Mick, I think your religion is very sad’ (indicating Jesus on the Cross) ‘Hinduism is very joyful’.

I explained that the Cross was not the end of the story but its beginning, a symbol of hope, love and forgiveness , the empty Cross and empty tomb the ‘sure hope’ that Christians believed in.

 

Peter the Fisherman

Peter says that this lake is a peaceful sanctuary and so we are encouraged to always be peaceful and hopeful in life.

The work of CAFOD is based on giving people hope in some of the poorest and most deprived areas of the world: the old adage is true, ‘Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day: teach a man how to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime’. And this is precisely the approach adopted by CAFOD, one of giving people the wherewithal and the means to enable them to provide for themselves, their families and their communities. This enabling help gives people new hope, and this is why I continue to support CAFOD and its wonderful work.

The next time I walk round Norwood Lake, I shall have more understanding, not just of fishing but of the ‘sure hope’ we Christians all share’.

For hope – Proverbs 13:12 says ‘… is a desire fulfilled – is a tree of life’. We at CAFOD help our brothers and sisters to achieve their desires, which is like a tree ‘planted by the rivers of waters’. Refreshing waters that makes our desires bloom in the hope of the now and the hope of a better future –  what a catch is hope!

If you wish to volunteer for CAFOD, please take a look at the various roles on our website or call us at the Southwark Volunteer Center 020-8466-9901.

 

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.

St James Petts Wood - live simply group.png

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 livesimplyaward@cafod.org.uk for further information about the award.