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.


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.





First Aid training in aid of CAFOD

This is a brilliant opportunity, from which both your parish and CAFOD could benefit.

CAFOD volunteer Peter Bull MBE is a qualified first aid instructor and has offered to run first aid courses in parishes across the diocese.


There are options for a one-day Emergency First Aid or three-day Qualified First Aider course, with all profits from the cost of the courses going to CAFOD. Participants will receive a certificate accredited by Kent First Aid T raining Ltd.

With Summer outings, parish barbecues and fêtes coming up, this is a great opportunity for people in your parish to gain first aid skills at a good price and in a way which will also help those we work with, around the world, prepare for and deal with emergencies.


You can read about the very successful First Aid day that took place over at CAFOD Westminster.  Not only did the twelve participants who took part leave with a signed certificate and potentially life-saving new knowledge and skills, they also raised more than £500 for CAFOD. If your parish has a group of five or more people interested in learning and receiving a certificate in emergency first aid, you could do the same!

To find out how to arrange a session in your parish, contact us by email or by phoning the CAFOD Southwark Office on 020 8466 9901. Peter will provide all the equipment needed so we are just looking for venues to host the training, where it could be advertised to the parish.

Hungry for Change campaign day

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


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.


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.