Growing Spiritually

Woman standing outside
Melani, 17, CAFOD Office Volunteer

Hello Everyone, 

It has been my third time here volunteering for CAFOD Southwark and let me tell you, Southwark diocese has been so welcoming and so heart-warming these past couple of days. You’re probably wondering who I am…  

Well let me introduce myself, 

My name is Melani and I am 17 years old, a current sixth former studying Physics, Spanish and Textiles. Some of my interest would be painting, styling clothes and visiting new places like famous landmarks or different countries and finding out more about the history behind it. I consider myself as a very creative person and love getting myself involved with as many things as I can. I am not afraid to try out new things and learn from my mistakes. 

Interested in Volunteering Opportunities? Find out more

Marble Side Building
Red gallery picture

Some Creative things I’ve done so far have been attending a fashion summer school where I was able to start making a garment, based on a protest theme that interested me. I decided to focus it on Women’s bodies (body expectations/ body shaming). During the summer I’ve been visiting as many places in London that are aesthetically pleasing but also historical for my textiles project where I am investigating interior/exterior buildings or places.

Why CAFOD? 

From a young age I always heard about CAFOD and the many ways of getting involved with them, whether it be donating money to them using small money boxes or getting involved in a fundraiser. 

Interested in donating to CAFOD? Donate online

When my school gave me a chance to volunteer. I immediately knew that CAFOD was where I wanted to be this summer. The reason I chose CAFOD was because since the 1960s they have always helped people in great poverty, no matter their skin colour, beliefs or background. I feel like especially today where the pandemic has hit everyone, across the world very hard, CAFOD is still out there helping as many people and families as they can. This is why this summer I would like to help out at CAFOD and know that through a big or small way I have helped a family or person in poverty.  

What have you enjoyed at CAFOD?

So far, I have enjoyed my volunteering experience and learnt how to use knew software. CAFOD staff overall have been so welcoming and gave me a tour of the building where I got to learn new facts about how they made sure the building was ecofriendly. I have been helping out with harvest day focusing on the theme of climate change where our aim is to raise money to help communities like Ivanilde’s, who is a woman from Brazil and has had people burning her crops and the amazon rainforest too.  

Find our more about Harvest Fast Day and Ivanilde’s Story here.

Poster on climate change

From these past couple of days, I have decided that I would like to continue volunteering and hopefully make a difference not only physically but grow spiritually too. 

Inspired by Melani’s Story? Sign up to volunteer

We would like to invite you to some wonderful online events.

Blessed Oscar Romero

On Saturday the 13th of March, 11am-12pm you’re invited to the Archbishop Oscar Romero Anniversary National Ecumenical Service. This will be live-streamed from St Martin-in-the-Fields to mark the 41st anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Click here to enter the livestream.

Fabiano in Uganda

Tuesday, 16 March 11am-12pm. Secondly, we’d like to invite you to hear about the difference you have made in Uganda. On Harvest Family Fast Day 2019, you heard about Fabiano in Uganda and raised money to help people without clean water around the world. Join this discussion, live from Uganda, with our local experts at Caritas Moroto and CAFOD’s Mark Kipkirui Baiywoh to hear about the amazing difference your help has made to the lives of local people.

Click here to book your place.

Tuesday 16th March 7pm. Finally, there is a talk on Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ letter on Our Common Home. Dr Peter Coughlan will be joining the Sacred Heart Parish in Wimbledon to talk about the main themes of this hugely significant encyclical. He will explore both the origins of Pope Francis’ ‘ecological conversion’ and the significance of Laudato Si’ as we approach the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow. Peter has recently given seminars at the Margaret Beaufort Institute in Cambridge and previously lectured at Heythrop College, University of London. The talk is organised by the Newman Circle and the Environment Group in the parish.

Email sarah.tobin@btconnect.com for the link for this meeting.

And a reminder that on Fridays throughout Lent we are walking through the Stations of the Cross online in a prayerful journey of transformation in solidarity with people living in poverty around the world.

Join us at 11am as we meditate on Christ’s journey to the cross, following themes of justice, poverty, mercy, friendship and hope.

Click here to register for the series.

Sowing seeds of goodness in our human family

In his new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis writes of ‘dark clouds over a closed world’, evoking the uncertainty we have about the future. We are affected here in the diocese of Southwark. Millions more vulnerable families around the world are now struggling with food shortages and loss of income as a result of coronavirus.

New Paths of Hope

Emergency Support to Peruvians and Venezuelan migrants with food and medicines supplies

Pope Francis reminds us that ‘despite these dark clouds’ there are ‘new paths of hope’. He tells us ‘God continues to sow abundant seeds of goodness in our human family.’ The generosity of CAFOD’s supporters is proof of these seeds of goodness. In Brazil, CAFOD’s partners are helping to distribute emergency food packages to families in urban areas unable to earn money and to assist farmers safely sell their produce.  In Sierra Leone, Sister Gertrude and her fellow doctors and nurses at the Handmaids Health Clinic and Maternity Unit now have personal protective equipment so they can treat patients safely. In Cambodia, migrant worker Pheng has participated in training in rice farming so that she can overcome travel restrictions and find work in her home country.

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis looks at the world today through the lens of the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan. Pope Francis writes ‘the parable shows us how a community can be rebuilt by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of exclusion, and act instead as neighbours, lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good.’

Lets gather as a big Church community this Harvest

CAFOD’s Family Fast Day this Harvest looks very different. Coronavirus restrictions mean our parishes in the diocese of Southwark cannot come together in all the normal ways to fundraise or gather for soup lunches or coffee mornings to support our brothers and sisters around the world.  But now, more than ever it is vital to come together as a community, even from a distance.

Find out more at www.cafod.org.uk/fastday or click on the links below to register.

CAFOD has created a programme of free events between Thursday 8 and Sunday 11 October to enable people to gather online as a big Church community. Everyone is welcome and there is something for everyone. Please invite your friends and family. Let us recognise Christ in our abandoned or excluded brothers and sisters in the global South and respond to Pope Francis’ call to ‘care for the needs of every man and woman, young and old, with the same fraternal spirit of care and closeness that marked the Good Samaritan.’

A Harvest Like no other Programme.

  • Join the Harvest Assembly for Schools. Watch live at 9.30am on Thursday 8 October
  • Listen to a live update about CAFOD’s coronavirus response with International Programme Director, Maria Gonzales at 11am on Friday 9 October Book your place
  • Bishop Peter Brignall will celebrate Family Fast Day Mass, livestreamed from 6pm on Friday 9 October. Register to join our Mass
  • CAFOD’s new Global Family Food Event is at 12-1pm, Saturday 10 October. Have fun, eat some delicious food, and make a donation to transform the lives of people in poverty. Find out more
  • Get a team together or enter solo for the Harvest Like No Other Quiz at 7-8pm on Saturday 10 October. Register here
  • A special Harvest edition of CAFOD’s popular Children’s Liturgy Live is at 10am on Sunday 11 October, with a special guest from Sierra Leone. Register here
  • Prayer and reflection:At 7pm on Sunday 11 October,Bishop John Arnold will reflect on Pope Francis’ catechesis, Healing the World, as well as the new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti Book your place