Friday is CAFOD Lent Fast Day 2021

Jed Murphy is a CAFOD volunteer in the Southwark Diocese. Jed is one of hundreds of CAFOD volunteers that (normally) speak at Masses about how CAFOD is making a difference overseas. Today he is sharing his thoughts on this Lent Fast Day.

St Benet Church Abbey Wood

Lent began on 17 February.  Yet it feels like Christmas has only just ended.  The pandemic has really changed our perception of time.

I was reflecting that last year’s Lent Fast Day’s was one of the last ‘normal’ things I did before the pandemic.  And it’s incredible to think it was almost a year ago. 

I visited St Benet’s Church and St John Fisher School in Abbey Wood, London.  It was early March, just before lockdown started, but when social distancing measures were starting to emerge.  One of those early measures was skipping the Sign of Peace at Mass.  I remember that it felt so strange. 

And what a year it’s been since then.  It feels as if time has stood still.  Many of us will have been impacted by Covid. Lost loved ones.  Lost jobs.  Felt isolated.  Been ill.     

It’s probably the first time that, in the UK, we’ve been touched by a global disaster –  the kind of thing we normally only ever see on the news. So we must remember that, around the world, people are dealing with Covid on top of extreme poverty.  For example, 1 in 3 people still don’t have access to safe drinking water.  People like Ibrahim, who is 50-years-old and lives in northern Ethiopia.  It used to take him 24 hours to get a drink of water.  Let that sink in.  A day’s walk.  To get water.  But thanks to CAFOD a solar-powered water pump installed near his home has transformed Ibrahim’s life.

Read more about Ibrahim

So how can we help, this Lent?

Well, because of lockdown, CAFOD Fast Day is going to be a little different this year. We’re all asked to join in The Walk for Water. Walk for Water is the only Lent challenge you need: 10,000 steps a day (or less) – done your way. Every day. For 40 days (or the rest of Lent). Go the distance this Lent and help to end water poverty.

How to join in ?

  1. Sign-up to set-up your JustGiving page.
  2. Let others know about the event.
  3. Choose a route. We’re suggesting five miles, or 10,000 steps, but any distance will work!
  4. Make sure you take plenty of photos on the event and share them using #walkforwater and @CAFOD

What else can you do?

1- Follow CAFOD’s online conferences to raise your awareness

The Challenge of Water in South Sudan, Tue 2 Mar, 11am Join us for a transformational talk about the water crisis and our inspiring work in South Sudan. Ibrahim Njuguna CAFOD Country representative in South Sudan and Thomas Delamere CAFOD Programme office in South Sudan will be reporting on the situation in the region.

Stations of the Cross: Every Friday throughout Lent at 11am This Lent, we will walk through the Stations of the Cross online in a prayerful journey of transformation in solidarity with people living in poverty around the world.

See our online talks page for more information.

2 – Donate online

CAFOD is offering online and text message giving this year. Visit CAFOD’s website for more information

From Zimbabwe to Battersea via a vegetable garden

Jed Murphy is a CAFOD volunteer in the Southwark Diocese. Jed went to speak at mass for Lent Family Fast Day last weekend at the Parish of the Sacred Heart Church in Battersea. Here, he writes about his message and experience. 

Sacred Heart Parish is a wonderfully vibrant parish located in the heart of Battersea.   It was founded in 1875 and is in the care of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

Your donations made a difference

Parish of the Sacred Heart Church, Battersea (Photo: CAFOD)

Parish of the Sacred Heart Church, Battersea (Photo: CAFOD)

This year’s Fast Day talk centred on Marian and her two sons, Tawanda & Svondo, who live in Zimbabwe.  When Tawanda was growing up, Marian didn’t have enough food to give him. It was heartbreaking to see.   When Tawanda was a teenager, Marian had another son, Svondo. He was brought up on fresh vegetables, beans and peanut butter. Now seven years old, Svondo is growing healthy and strong. He plays with his friends. He’s happy.

And the difference? Your donations to CAFOD helped to give Marian some seeds.   And she did the rest.  She worked hard month after month to grow a vegetable garden until it flourished and provided food for her family.

Discover Marian’s story in a video

No child should have to go hungry

But the message this Lent is that no child should have to go hungry.

And this Lent our donations can make double the impact:  for every pound you donate to CAFOD, the UK Government will also donate a pound.

At no extra cost, twice the number of lives can be transformed. Twice the number of children can have the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong.

This Friday go without a meal and give to CAFOD

This Friday I hope you can take part in Family Fast Day by going without a meal, or having a simple meal and giving generously to CAFOD.

The magnificent Sacred Heart Church (Photo: CAFOD)

The magnificent Sacred Heart Church (Photo: CAFOD)

During Mass, Father reminded us all that this weekend is the start of our Lentern journey towards Easter.  Even the weather seemed to point to the first few bright days of Spring on the way.

Let’s use this Lent to remember our less fortunate brother & sisters around the world.  

I wanted to say a very big thank-you to Fr Gerry O’Shaughnessy, Fr. Peter Pagac and Deacon Michael Kennedy and all the parishioners who made me feel so welcome this weekend.

As Fr O’Shaughnessy said this morning: ‘Happy Lent’.


Photo: CAFOD


A huge story about a tiny fish in Tooting

Jed Murphy, a CAFOD volunteer in the Southwark Diocese spent this weekend at Our Lady of the Assumption in Tooting, South London as part of the Lent Fast Day appeal.

I have lived in this part of South London for most of my life – but had never known that this lovely, vibrant and very welcoming Parish existed on the borders of Tooting, Streatham & Mitcham.

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The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Tooting (Phot0: CAFOD Southwark)

This year’s Lent Fast Day talk focussed on an amazing CAFOD project that provides families in the poorest parts of Zambia with tiny  tilapia fish together with the tools & training to build ponds in order to farm them.

Through this initiative, families are able to stand on their own two feet, selling their fish at the market and sharing what they have with the most vulnerable in their community.

It is a truly inspiring story.


A CAFOD Lent Fast Day poster, showing the incredible story of Florence & the talapia fish

As approach Fast Day this Friday (10th March), we are encouraged to eat a simple lunch or supper and give the money we save to support other families.  In doing so we demonstrate our faith and tangibly help change the lives of others.

A donation of just £4 will buy 100 of those tiny talapia fish.  £20 will provide the materials to build a pond.  Please give what you can today.

The appeal went down very well in the Parish, and we also had requests from two parishioners who wanted to get involved as CAFOD Volunteers.  It’s a really great way for us to put our faith into action.  If you’d like to help & support CAFOD’s work in the community more information can be found here.


The sanctuary at Our Lady of the Assumption (Photo: CAFOD Southwark)

A huge thank you to Fr Patrick and  all the parishioners who made so welcome.