Northfields’ Young CAFOD Group Celebrates 10 Years

By Nicole Crosbourne – CAFOD Volunteer

On Wednesday 19th July, we were once again very fortunate to have a talk delivered by Father Peter Hughes about this year’s CAFOD Fast Day Appeal in El Salvador to the parish of SS Peter and Paul, Northfields. The day also marked 10 years since the creation of SS Peter and Paul’s Young CAFOD Group.

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Northfields’ CAFOD Group

Last week Father Peter spoke to several people about the question of poverty, what it really means to be a Catholic, and the challenges of Laudato Si. His inspirational message encouraged many parishioners from the local area to participate in a card-signing to show their support for CAFOD’s Harvest Fast Day appeal in El Salvador and our latest ‘Power to Be’ campaign.

Having spent many years working in a missionary in Lima, Peru, Father Peter became the theological advisor for Latin America.  He worked alongside Gustavo Gutierrez and Peruvian bishops to support developing programmes for social and pastoral action. Using the words of Pope Francis and echoing SS Peter and Paul, Father Peter spoke about poverty, and how this burning issue both within the church, and our world forms the foundations of CAFOD, “I want a church by the poor, for the poor”.

Highlighting the shocking statistic by Oxfam International, “50% of the world’s wealth is in the hands of 8 people”, Father Peter explained how poverty can reduce people to “nobodies” or a “surplus”. He also emphasised how material poverty is directly against the Christian message, “God is a God of Love […] God is life.”  His message underlined the importance of fighting climate change as stewards for our planet, “If we make of mess of the world, we can fix it”.

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Claire Hardiman, Mary Ward, Liz Higgins-Noonan and Joy Hynes (Left to Right)

Following Father Peter’s engaging message, we celebrated 10 years since SS Peter and Paul’s Young CAFOD group was created. The group, aged 12 to 18 years old, started in 2007 to raise global awareness amongst teenagers within the parish. Founded by Mary Ward, the group’s aim is to increase consciousness of the world around us, to be aware of those who are less fortunate and to recognise some of the big issues which impact humanity. “We are extremely proud of our young people; in a cynical world, they bear witness to the power of God’s love.”

Over the last decade, the Young CAFOD Group has inspired over 100 members and has raised a staggering £12,000 through a variety of fundraisers, including Winter Wonderland, Crepe Celebration and sponsored bike rides. Amongst their highlights, the group has also produced a film on climate change, achieving 2nd place in a National Young CAFOD competition and interviewed Ed Miliband. The members of the group actively participate in CAFOD’s Fast Day Appeals ran by the parish.

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Mary Ward with Father Peter and Father Jim

 

Father Jim Duffy presented Mary with a certificate for 10 years of volunteering and thanked her for all the hard-work put into the group. Claire Hardiman, Liz Higgins-Noonan and Joy Hynes were also thanked for their outstanding work over many years.

 

 

 

 

The Challenge of Laudato Si’ and the Amazon Rainforest: Father Peter Delivers Inspirational Talk

By Nicole Crosbourne – Volunteer

Last week, we were very fortunate to host two talks by Father Peter, an Irish-Columbian father who had spent many years working in Peru. He delivered an inspirational message about the challenges of Laudato Si’, what it really means to be a Catholic, and the question of poverty. Several people from the parish of St. Edmunds of Canterbury, Beckenham attended on Thursday, followed by a large gathering of people at Comboni Missionary Sisters, Chiswick on Friday.

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Katherine, Sister Graca, Father Peter, Paul Whittle and New CAFOD Volunteer Area Coordinator Nigel Bishop

After the talk, everyone was invited to participate in a card-signing later that evening to show their support for CAFOD and this year’s Harvest Fast Day Appeal in El Salvador.

Father Peter, who had spent many years working as a missionary in Lima, Peru became the theological advisor in Latin America. His close collaborations with Gustavo Gutierrez enabled him to support developing programmes, both for social and pastoral action with the help of Peruvian bishops.

The key message of Father Peter’s talk encompassed the challenges of Laudato Si’, and what it really meant to be a Catholic both for our church, and for our world. Using the words of Pope Francis which echoed St. Peter and St. Paul, Father Peter spoke about the question of poverty, and how this burning issue forms the foundations of CAFOD, “I want a church by the poor, for the poor”.

Talk by Father Peter

Father Peter Hughes Delivering His Talk

He highlighted the shocking statistic from February by Oxfam International speaking about the distance between the rich and the poor, and the inequalities in today’s society. “Today 50% of the world’s wealth is in the hands of 8 people.”  He also emphasised how people in our world are being reduced to “nobodies” or a “surplus” as a result of material poverty, and how this is directly against the Christian message. “God is a God of love […] God is life.”

As Christians, we all have the responsibility to understand poverty. As Father Peter mentioned, we should remember both relative and absolute poverty, and reach out to those in need both within and outside of our local communities, believers or non-believers. Father Peter also highlighted our job as Christians to understand the relationship between poverty and our faith, with reference to this year’s Harvest Fast Day Appeal and the overarching message from Laudato Si’ 139. Fighting climate change is our responsibility as stewards for our planet, “If we make of mess of the world, we can fix it”.

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Father Peter and CAFOD Volunteer Hugh Caldin

 

Many people were inspired by Father Peter’s message, including Brendan Kilcullen, CAFOD Supporter and monthly donator, and Sister Helen who had moved to the Parish in November, working with Housing Justice for Asylum Seekers. ”I came to hear about the work of CAFOD. I was interested in the stations of the cross CAFOD used to illustrate asylum seekers. I wanted to use these within my own parish and see how CAFOD is helping people to grow in faith” (Sister Helen).

P2B Action Cards

Power To Be Action Cards

Following some questions, Libby Abbott, CAFOD Campaigns Team, spoke on behalf of CAFOD about our latest ‘Power to Be’ campaign and the importance of renewable energy. Everyone was encouraged to sign cards in order to raise awareness the campaign and the effects of climate change.

Overall, we are extremely grateful for all the work and continued support Father Peter has given to CAFOD over the last 30 years. We wish him all the best in his work within the church and as the Board of REPAM, the church network for Pan-Amazon.

To engage in our Power To Be campaign, you sign our petition online. Also, you can order your own action cards at our shop to be signed within your parish, or organise a Power To Be Liturgy to continue to raise awareness, pray and spread the message.

 

 

Voices from the field – Tomorrow and Friday

By Sarah Vincent, Social Media Volunteer

You are invited to a special evening, whereby you will be given the opportunity to listen to the fascinating experiences of supporters of CAFOD, as well as hear them discuss their perspective of their role.

We are very fortunate to have Father Peter Hughes deliver an inspirational talk about his many experiences working alongside our brothers and sisters living in the poorest communities.

Father Peter

Father Peter Hughes

Father Peter is an Irish Columban Priest from County Mayo who has spent the majority of his life as a missionary based in Lima, Peru. Father Peter has been working in severely impoverished communities in Lima and is also a significant theological advisor in Latin America. Additionally, Father Peter is a close collaborator of Gustavo Gutierrez and supports developing programmes of social and pastoral action with the help of Peruvian bishops.

 

CAFOD has known Father Peter for over 30 years! We knew him first as Superior of the Columban Fathers in Peru, and we supported programmes in Peru through the Columban Fathers for many years. He was a parish priest in a highly impoverished part of town, whereby the location of the parish was on top of a rubbish dump. He later became Director of another CAFOD partner in Peru, CEAPAZ and was also a Board Member of our partner Centro San Bartolomé de las Casas for some time.

Father Peter became the Executive Secretary of a key strategic partner of CAFOD: the Department for Justice and Solidarity of Latin American Bishops Conference (CELAM). For many years we have supported and continue to support the work of the Department to ensure a clear direction for the Church’s Justice and Solidarity work across the Latin American region. Father Peter, stepped down from his role as Executive Secretary in 2015, but has not yet escaped our clutches as a CAFOD partner. Since Father Peter stepped down, he has helped to found and is now the Board of REPAM, the Church Network for Pan-Amazon!

As you can tell from his experiences, Father Peter has been extremely involved in communities within Latin America and so has a lot to discuss regarding his experiences living and working alongside those in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Details for the event on Thursday

Date: Thursday 13 July 2017

Time: 7pm until 9pm

Location: St Edmunds of Canterbury Church Hall, Village Way, Beckenham BR3 3NP

Details for the event on Friday

Date: Friday 14 July 2017

Time: 2pm until 3:30pm

Location: Comboni Missionary Sisters, 2 Chiswick Lane, London, W4 2JF

Come and join us for this unique experience. We look forward to seeing you there!