The Peace Icon and the Olympic Opening Ceremony

As preparations for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games are well underway, we can reflect a little on the privilege of peace and the work needed to extend it to all corners of our troubled globe. The original Games were intended to break the cycle of war in ancient Greece and replace it with friendly competition. That same spirit still motivates us today. Who knows what could be achieved if international governments were to fulfil their pledge to honour the Olympic Truce between 27 July and 9 September 2012 (the 42-day period of the Games)?

CAFOD have gone further in calling for the observation of 100 Days of Peace from 8th June – 28th October 2012 (50 days either side of the Games), reflecting the original Truce which enabled athletes and spectators to travel to and from the Games in safety. Can we contribute to building peace and creating a lasting legacy of peacefulness during this time? Many schools, parishes and charities have already taken up the challenge with activities ranging from peace assemblies to CAFOD’s “Pass it On” video uploads.

One special point of focus this summer will be the travelling Pax Christi Icon. The Icon has already been and will continue to be hosted by sixteen different parishes in the three Olympic Dioceses of Westminster, Brentwood and Southwark where it will provide a focus for prayer and reflection.

Throughout these days we are asked to keep in our prayers those people from conflict zones who need to know that they have not been forgotten. We ask that we will become agents of the Jesus who says, “Peace be with you”.

This sacred painting was made at the Monastery of St John in the Desert and given to the Pax Christi move-ment in 1999. Entitled “Christ is our Reconciliation”, its twelve panels depict Biblical stories and saints as-sociated with the deep movements of the heart needed to bring about peace. On the day of the Olym-pic opening ceremony the Icon will move to St Francis of Assisi Church, Stratford, which will be open for 24 hour exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Other churches are holding Mission Weeks or ecumenical events for peace while the Icon is with them. While the Icon is at St John Vianney’s the parish centre will also be hosting a Music for Peace workshop on 16th June where Frances Novillo and Jenny Kettleton will facilitate an event for parish singers and musicians from across the Diocese to learn peace-themed mu-sic which can be used throughout the 100 Days and beyond.

For more details about where you can visit the Icon, click here.

Adapted from ‘An Invitation to Take Part in the 100 Days of Peace ‘ by Colette Joyce, Project assistant at the ‘100 days of Peace’ office (office@peacelegacy.org.uk)

LONDON MARATHON: VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

37,000 people will be racing 26 miles on April 17th  2011,  in one of the world’s best marathons. Please join us and help to support the runners in Team CAFOD


CAFOD has twelve runners in the London Marathon this year, and we’d love to offer them all the support and thanks from CAFOD that they deserve for their efforts.  Feedback from runners shows that our support along the course and afterwards really makes a difference to them, so we are looking for people who can volunteer on Sunday 17th April – it would be very much appreciated!

There will be two types of jobs, and there is no upper limit to the number of people who are welcome to come along and support!

The first type of job would be to turn up to a cheering point along the course and shout encouragement to the runners.  In addition to people who just want to cheer, we need someone to be responsible for collecting the CAFOD flag and resources and returning them afterwards.

We’re hoping to set up two cheering points along the course, at mile 13/22 (near Tower Bridge) and mile 17 (near Mudchute Park).  The job here is to set up a CAFOD area with banners and flags and cheer along the runners, making extra noise for any you see in a CAFOD vest!  For both of these spots we would need key volunteers for set up (around 9.30 am for Mile 13, and 10 am for Mile 17) and to pack up (around 3 pm or later if possible); these volunteers would be responsible for picking up the flags etc from, and then returning them to Community Fundraising on the working days before/after the marathon.  Then we need as many people as possible to turn up in between and cheer the runners along.  The cheering materials will all be provided, so for most it will simply be a case of turn up, enjoy the race and cheer along.

The second type of job will be a welcoming role, meeting runners when they finish the marathon, directing them to our reception, setting up the reception etc.  We will be holding our reception for the runners in a pub on Whitehall, and will also need people to help around this area, meeting runners in Horse Guards Parade as soon as they finish, escorting them to our showers and masseuse, or providing them with a cheery, thankful welcome at the pub.

People are needed throughout the day, from 9 am; any help would be greatly appreciated.  Also if anyone has a preference for the jobs they’d like to do or where they’d like to be, that’s absolutely fine.  If you fancy joining us for a drink afterwards, all our volunteers will of course be welcome at the post race reception.

This is one of London’s most exciting events, and CAFOD would really appreciate any help you can give.  If you would like to make a day of it and bring along friends and family, the more the merrier!  37,000 people are due to run the course so the bigger splash we can make to get our flags seen by these, the better.  It’s always an amazing day and really inspirational to see this amount of dedication and determination by so many people.  Fun guaranteed.

If you can help at all please contact Siân Hughes on 020 7095 5333 or by e-mail – shughes@cafod.org.uk