Hungry for Change campaign day

Thank you to everyone who came to the Hungry for Change campaign day on Saturday 2 November!

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It was a great day, and it was wonderful to see so many people there. More than 70 CAFOD supporters from across the South East came together to share stories of their efforts and successes in supporting Hungry for Change over the past year and to find out more about the next steps in the ongoing campaign.

We stared off the day by joining together in an Emmaus Meal in which we listened to stories of CAFOD’s partners in Bangladesh and El Salvador, reflected on scripture and shared some tasty food.

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After lunch we were joined by Father Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Blasco SJ, who described his work as parish priest in Santa Maria Chiquimula, Guatemala. The parish is part of western Guatemala’s ‘dry corridor’ – an area that experiences annual drought and food shortages. Year on year, the people living there struggle to ensure they have enough healthy food to eat.

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Father Nacho told us how the parish and the small community of jesuit priests that run it work to help the people of the region, with CAFOD’s support. Projects they are involved with include working to improve educational facilities, providing training in more sustainable organic farming techniques, and providing young mothers with seeds to help improve their families’ food security by cultivating vegetable gardens.

Thanks again to Father Nacho, to everyone who came along to the campaign day and to all of you who have supported Hungry for Change over the past year. As the campaign continues to tackle world hunger, it will focus on the enormous effect climate change is having on the ability of poor agricultural communities to produce enough food to live healthily.

There are many ways to tackle climate change in our daily lives, such as switching to a sustainable energy provider or investing in ethical banking. You can find out more about the problems of climate change and what we as CAFOD supporters can do to make a difference by downloading CAFOD’s new report on climate change or by visiting the climate section of the CAFOD website.

Spreading the Hunger for Change!

Our neighbours at CAFOD Brentwood spent the weekend before last promoting the Hungry for Change campaign, at the V Festival in Hylands Park, Chelmsford.

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Denise and nine CAFOD volunteers – including Matthew from the Southwark Diocese – collected a fantastic 1149 signatures for the petition to David Cameron; a petition which highlights the fact that whilst the world produces enough food to feed everyone, 870 million people don’t have enough to eat.

The team did a brilliant job and you can read more about what they got up to, and how they spread the word, here!

And if you haven’t already, you too can contact David Cameron via the CAFOD website. The food system is failing the poorest people because the balance of power is tipped towards global companies, rather than families trying to put food on the table. We are asking the Prime Minister that aid is directed to small-scale farmers, especially women, to help them access markets and increase their income, bargaining power and voice on decisions, and for checks on the power of global food companies, requiring them to report on the lobbying they do and their impact on human rights – to ensure that works in global supply chains get a fair deal. Please add your voice and tell Mr Cameron that you too are hungry for change.

The Peace Icon and the Olympic Opening Ceremony

As preparations for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games are well underway, we can reflect a little on the privilege of peace and the work needed to extend it to all corners of our troubled globe. The original Games were intended to break the cycle of war in ancient Greece and replace it with friendly competition. That same spirit still motivates us today. Who knows what could be achieved if international governments were to fulfil their pledge to honour the Olympic Truce between 27 July and 9 September 2012 (the 42-day period of the Games)?

CAFOD have gone further in calling for the observation of 100 Days of Peace from 8th June – 28th October 2012 (50 days either side of the Games), reflecting the original Truce which enabled athletes and spectators to travel to and from the Games in safety. Can we contribute to building peace and creating a lasting legacy of peacefulness during this time? Many schools, parishes and charities have already taken up the challenge with activities ranging from peace assemblies to CAFOD’s “Pass it On” video uploads.

One special point of focus this summer will be the travelling Pax Christi Icon. The Icon has already been and will continue to be hosted by sixteen different parishes in the three Olympic Dioceses of Westminster, Brentwood and Southwark where it will provide a focus for prayer and reflection.

Throughout these days we are asked to keep in our prayers those people from conflict zones who need to know that they have not been forgotten. We ask that we will become agents of the Jesus who says, “Peace be with you”.

This sacred painting was made at the Monastery of St John in the Desert and given to the Pax Christi move-ment in 1999. Entitled “Christ is our Reconciliation”, its twelve panels depict Biblical stories and saints as-sociated with the deep movements of the heart needed to bring about peace. On the day of the Olym-pic opening ceremony the Icon will move to St Francis of Assisi Church, Stratford, which will be open for 24 hour exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Other churches are holding Mission Weeks or ecumenical events for peace while the Icon is with them. While the Icon is at St John Vianney’s the parish centre will also be hosting a Music for Peace workshop on 16th June where Frances Novillo and Jenny Kettleton will facilitate an event for parish singers and musicians from across the Diocese to learn peace-themed mu-sic which can be used throughout the 100 Days and beyond.

For more details about where you can visit the Icon, click here.

Adapted from ‘An Invitation to Take Part in the 100 Days of Peace ‘ by Colette Joyce, Project assistant at the ‘100 days of Peace’ office (office@peacelegacy.org.uk)