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.
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”.
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.
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.