Finding a family at CAFOD

CAFOD volunteer Miriam McEneaney from St. Lawrence’s Parish, Feltham; shares her experience of volunteering and being inspired by and building relationships with her fellow volunteers.

Getting hooked on volunteering

Miriam grew in her volunteering role from writing to her MP to volunteer coordinator

I have been volunteering with CAFOD for a few years now.  It was when my children had left school and I was no longer involved in school or scout committees. I wanted to get involved in something where I could put my faith into action.  I went to an Understanding CAFOD day and I was hooked.  The first thing that struck me about volunteering for CAFOD was how flexible it was.  It was something I could fit around my normal working week.

I started out by being an MPC (MP Correspondent).  This involved writing to my MP about three times a year requesting their support on various petitions.  I then volunteered to be a roaming speaker.  I would speak at various Churches during the Lent and Harvest appeals where they do not have a CAFOD presence.

Find out more about our volunteering opportunities

Finding a family at CAFOD

CAFOD family on a ZOOM call

The next step in my CAFOD journey was when I became a Campaign Volunteer Co-ordinator for parts of the Westminster and West Southwark Diocese.  The role is very varied and you get as much out of it as you put into it.  It involves liaising with all the wonderful Campaign Volunteers, keeping them up to date with what’s happening and encouraging them to spread the word in their parishes.  Obviously, emails are an important part in communication but a few times a year, I really like to phone around.  This was particularly important during lockdown.  So many people were really pleased to get the call – especially if they were living alone.  It really struck me that CAFOD is a family and we should all be looking out for each other.  I know I always felt motivated after each call and I hope the Campaign Volunteer did too.  When I first started to phone the Campaign Volunteers, it was a bit daunting.  Now, it is like catching up with friends.  There is also a sense of freedom because I am asking for time and not money.  If ever I have a question, there is always support from Tony and Marine, my two Community Participation Co-ordinators.

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

CAFOD LIVESIMPLY AWARDED TO OUR LADY OF LOURDES PARISH

On 25 September 2016, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Lee received the CAFOD livesimply award by working as a community to see how they could live more simply, sustainably and in solidarity with people who are poor. 100 people were present, among them Raymond, who writes about his experience of the event.

 The award presentation 

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Live Simply award Presentation

Our parish were so excited to receive the livesimply award. Although there were only about 100 of us at Mass, we made the Parish walls vibrate with applause as if there were 1,000 of us as Bishop Patrick Lynch presented the award. Our parish achieved the award through a number of actions including supporting Lee Oasis, a charity working on social inclusion, installing a water butt to harvest water for our garden, increasing the amount of recycling we do, promoting Fairtrade, and auditing our energy use so we could reduce our carbon footprint.

Living simply in my own life

Receiving the award was a momentous achievement, but Jillie Smithies from the live simply group  assured us that this award represents a first steppingstone in a never ending journey.

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The Live simply team

This statement resonated with me as an invitation to have a look at my life, through investigating the consequences of my daily habits and how to improve so as to stamp myself a livesimply person, and also be a livesimply campaigner in my community.

How can I “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us” as advocated by Pope Francis?

We only have one Earth, and by adopting a livingsimply approach, we are showing God our gratitude for such a beautiful gift and remembering the importance of living together as one big harmonious human family.

Join us

Find out more about CAFOD livesimply award and how your parishes or communities can contribute towards the scheme