Laudato Si’ week 2021- “for we know things can change”

On 24 May 2015 Pope Francis signed his second encyclical Laudato Si’. Addressed to every living person on the planet it called for a dialogue about the future of the planet, Our Common Home. At the start of this Laudato Si’ week 16- 25 May Jane Crone from CAFOD in East Anglia reflects on why people of faith care about Our Common Home.

Aftermath of COVID-19 requires urgent action

The crisis of COVID 19 has taught us that life can change very quickly, our relationships and ways of thinking and living have been irreversibly shaken up. Knowing that the future will be different, we talk about ‘building back better or differently and of a ‘new normal’. In ‘Let Us Dream’ Pope Francis calls the time we live in a time of ‘reckoning’ but also a time of choices and opportunity. Reflecting on his own times of crisis or ‘personal Covids’ he says, ‘What I learned was that you suffer a lot, but if you allow it to change you, you come out better, but if you dig in, you come out worse.’

Read more about Laudato Si’ encyclical from Pope Francis

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Get crafty in Southwark

With schools closed, children spend hours in front of their phones and computers.  All of a sudden these little screens became the most important part of everyday life. They are being used to study and do the homework, but also to relax and stay in touch with others.

Read on to hear how a Children’s Liturgy Volunteer shared her passion for crafting with ideas which are fun and relaxing and and don’t require sitting in front of a computer (or at least only for a very short time 🙂

Maggie McWilliams Crafting Joy with CAFOD

 Check out CAFOD’s newest LIVE monthly online show Crafting JOY with CAFOD, where Maggie McWilliams, a mum of 3, teacher and Children’s Liturgy Volunteer, along with her co-host Bronagh Daly (Community Participation Coordinator in Leeds), share some amazing crafting ideas, last month the theme was Walk for Water themed craft and chat which is perfect to get us focused on the journey towards Lent and water poverty around the world.




During Lockdown many people are taking up new hobbies like baking, or gardening and 

Maggie and Bronagh Crafting Joy with CAFOD

crafting!  If you feel like you’d like to flex your creative skills or want to get the kids involved with making their own works of art join the next Crafting Joy with CAFOD.

CAFOD volunteer Maggie gave an interview to  Emma Gill on the BBC Radio Cornwall    Saturday Breakfast show. You can find it here at this point in the broadcast: In at: 3hrs:38 – Out at: 3hrs:47

Marine, Sarah and Celeste would love to see what our Southwark volunteers can do, why not send us pictures of what you make and tell your family and friends. Discover a new passion particularly with little ones.

Banana cake from Peru Crafting with CAFOD

When you have a moment why not check out the activities at the CAFOD Kidz Zone? especially the yummy recipes from around the world! Tweet pictures of your creations to share with fellow volunteers to the Southwark Twitter account: @cafodsouthwark or share a Facebook post on the Southwark Facebook page: @cafodsouthwark

Nature is filled with the words of love

CAFOD campaigner and volunteer, Julie Cox, shares her passionate solidarity with the Yanomami indigenous community in Brazil and how, after meeting Davi and Dario Kopenawa (leaders of the Yanomami community) when they visited CAFOD in February 2020, she has been inspired take on a personal pilgrimage and challenge to fundraise, raise awareness and share the story of this incredible community.

The Terrible Plight of the Yanomami Community in Brazil

Let us take time to stop and breathe a moment…and when you’re ready to reflect:

Welcome to one of the most diverse forests on the planet – envisage the river, the lush foliage, all the sounds, colours, feel the humidity, see the Yanomami living in harmony with their land, the river, the wildlife.  Take as long as you like.

Amazon Rainforest

Let us now awake and consider reality: let’s look at what is actually happening to our earth family members in the Yanomami indigenous community in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest.  They are exposed to severe threats of our making – our consumerist lifestyles fuelling much of what is going on there.

Time is running out for the largest indigenous community of Amazonia, numbering 27,000 people, whose ancestral homeland covers over 200 villages in an area of 2.3 million acres on the Brazilian-Venezuelan border.  The Yanomami are true custodians of their Amazon rainforest reservation.  But their future and the future of the magnificent rainforest now hang on a knife-edge.

Both the elders, the Yanomami shamans, the ones with traditional knowledge of medicinal uses of plants etc. and the youngest are most at risk and tragically succumbing to the new Corona virus epidemic.  Rachel Bunyan for Mailonline, 20 November 2020, publicised figures from a report compiled by Yanomami leaders:  “Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the reservation have risen some 260% between August and October – from 335-1,202 cases.  So far, there have been 23 confirmed deaths.”  An estimated 10,000 have been exposed, as it is impossible for the Yanomami community to self-isolate.  They have confined themselves to their individual village compounds, having gone deeper into the forest but the disease is spreading.

In addition malarial cases are rising and contributing further, particularly to child-deaths. 

Medical support including provision of ventilators is non-existent for such marginalised communities – chloroquine which can treat malaria and Covid to some degree, has not been distributed and the Brazilian Government is not doing anything.

No food is available at medical points and this situation causes further spread of the virus.

Mercury poisoning is on the increase due to the proliferation of gold mining activities.

Learn more about Davi Kopenawa and how CAFOD and the Yanomami Indigenous Community work together

Why we are implicated in these tragic circumstances

We create the demand which encourages corrupt multi nationals and governments to plunder the earth, unhindered.  The price of gold has sky-rocketed and there are now 200,000 illegal gold miners in the Yanomami territory –another gold-rush is on, with planes, boats, barges transporting tons of equipment, taking advantage of President Bolsonaro’s complicity.

Davi Kopenawa visiting CAFOD in 2020 and meeting our young supporters

Mines are scarring previously pristine rainforest which has taken thousands of years to develop.

The miners are infiltrating, drinking strong alcohol and forcefully having their way with Yanomami women, so clearly this is exacerbating Covid-19 spread.

The loss of elders is tragic for the future of the Yanomami.  Their oral tradition means that their knowledge dies with them.  Since previous malaria epidemics, the loss of elders has weakened the resilience of the indigenous community as a whole.

Gold mining pollutes river water and the land.  The life-span of the Yanomami people is being further diminished as a result through mercury poisoning.  Also, we can ascertain what this is doing to the food chain – poisons being transferred and concentrated upward towards the top predators like the Jaguar.

Scientists have shown that due to our demand for timber, beef and soya (feed for our livestock and poultry to support our meat industry including the UK), the Amazon biome is reaching a tipping point beyond which it will convert to drier savanna vegetation – this will have a massive impact on global weather patterns since evapotranspiration from the tropical Amazon rainforest canopy generates rainfall as far away as Texas, in the key agricultural area of Midwest US. (R S Butler, 2020)   This means production will suffer, which will have a knock on effect to our food imports.

Check out CAFOD’s website for ideas on how to live more simply and sustainably

How can we stop this disaster unfolding?

Let us remind ourselves,

“Nature is filled with the words of love.” Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ para 225    

We all like to think we love nature – and we do, if we take time to appreciate it in our local surroundings and learn from our mother earth and become aware of global connectivity.  Lessening our impact and living gently upon the earth is our natural and authentically loving response.  This involves a certain amount of sacrifice.

If you would like to support the Yanomami as they fight for their lives – please sign their ‘Miners out Covid out’ campaign:   

Please watch the video The Shaman’s Message

My Amazon Pilgrimage

My challenge is to cover the 6,400 Km distance of the R. Amazon by 2027, through combined country-walking and swimming.  I’m considering open-water swimming as leisure centres/pools are still closed.  In addition I’m raising funds from crafting hats, headbands and scarfs.

I invite you to look at my JustGiving Fundraising page.

Please be assured that all your donations will go directly to the Hutukara Yanomami Association, led by Davi Kopenawa, himself.  CAFOD will send the initial target sum as soon as it’s raised.  Fundraising will continue for the duration of my virtual pilgrimage challenge of the length of the Amazon. I very much hope to encourage others to begin their own fund-raising initiatives – our Earth cries out as do the Best Keepers of the Earth, our indigenous peoples of the rainforest.

Let’s take time to hear the cry of the Yanomami, of future generations and that of the Earth.  Lets, together, do whatever we can in order to help ensure their future survival.

My sincere thanks to all supporters.  We can make a difference, together with CAFOD’s fantastic encouragement and outreach support.