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 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

Signs of hope during a challenging year

It has been a challenging year. For many of us, it’s a hard year we’ll look back on recognise God’s love and care as he carried us through. For others it has been a time when we’ve rediscovered our love of nature or the simple joys of life. In the middle of all this, the time for Family Fast Day is back. Lets discover the signs of hope it brings us.

Family fast Day looks different

Kenya – CAFOD’s partner preparing a distribution to vulnerable families

Family Fast Day this Harvest looks different. Our church buildings have fewer people in them and we can’t do certain things we always took for granted. I miss the coffee morning after church. But some things haven’t changed. And they won’t change. We know that each person, especially the poorest amongst us, matters. We know that every life is created by God and is precious. And we know that our love of our neighbour reflects our love of God. We also know that, sadly, countless people throughout our world face chronic food shortages, malnutrition and poverty.

This year schools and parishes, Catholic networks and religious orders and countless individuals are doing what they can to help those in need, showing that their love is practical, not abstract. It is easy to see in our own families that if one person suffers, we all suffer. We also know that we are a global family, each of us brothers and sisters, each of us precious and loved.

Discover what Family Fast Day looks this year

A Fast Day giving signs of hope during a challenging year

A Harvest Fast Day like no other. Texting is a new innovative way for CAFOD to receive donations.

Many will support our work by donating online while others will text CAFOD to 70085 to donate £10* to our Coronavirus Appeal, the focus for our appeal this Harvest. Our volunteers are trying extra hard to let people know about the need and inspire them to respond. Angela and Colin Dowling, from Bromley, for example helped us calling some parish volunteers to tell them about Harvest. Ben Warren from St Vincent de Paul, Battersea Altenberg in Clapham is doing a special ride sponsored by people around him. Barbara Leigh from St Thomas More in Dulwich has once again made sure she could display the Harvest poster, the envelops, the announcement in the newsletter. Karen Suddaby and the J&P group from St Mary/Our Lady Help of Christians from Greenwich has put up 6 copies of the CAFOD family fast day poster on the glass doors leading into the church. The posters are in 3 locations, put up back to back so that people can read them both on the way out and on the way in.  

It’s such a sign of hope that our communities are still determined to support our work, to help those in need, even when many of us are in need ourselves. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for expressing your faith and sharing the love of God with people you’ve never met.

Join us from home for Harvest, our door is open

Many people won’t be able to get to church this Harvest. If you would like to join us online and enjoy being church with us in prayer and community we would be delighted to open our doors and welcome you in.

We have virtual events to suit everyone, all of which can be found on our website

Share the word about Family Fast Day

Please do let others know about these events, particularly if they’ve not been able to get to church recently and might be missing it. Maybe you could send them the links and help them get online? If you use Facebook or have a parish WhatsApp group, maybe you could share CAFOD’s posts about the events and encourage your friends to join. This Harvest, let’s try to ensure that no-one is beyond reach.

Look at our Harvest Festival and join us!

*Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text CAFODNOINFO to 70085. For more information please see our Privacy

Quiz Night For The Zimbabwe Food Crisis Appeal

Michelle Aterton is a volunteer in the Birchington Parish.With two fellow volunteers they organised a fun quiz night in aid of  CAFOD’S Zimbabwe and Zambia food crisis appeal.  They tell us all about it and how you could do the same in your parish. 

Birchington Thanet:The Parish that quizes together in aid of CAFOD’s Zimbabwe Food Crisis Appeal 

Birchington Parishioners enjoying a quizz night in aid of the food crisis appeal in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Birchington Parishioners enjoying a quizz night in aid of the food crisis appeal in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

On a cold Winter’s night, 24 January 2020, in Birchington on the Thanet north coast, the Parish of the Holy Family held a magnificent Quiz for CAFOD.  The evening raised £467 for the Zimbabwe and Zambia Food Crisis appeal. Over 50 people took part, including two parishioners from Zimbabwe.

Inspired? Organise your own Quiz Night  

Sr Angela Cronin Responds to the Zimbabwe and Zambia Emergency Alert

All generations in the parish met for the Quiz Night to respond to the food crisis appeal in Zimbabwe and Zambia

All generations in the parish met for the Quiz Night to respond to the food crisis appeal in Zimbabwe and Zambia

The evening was opened by Sr. Angela Cronin, who explained that we had gathered together to share bread and to share what we raised from the evening with our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Sr Angela had responded to a letter from Jo Kitterick, the Head of Fundraising and Participation at CAFOD, who had alerted her to the crisis in these countries.

Sr. Angela explained that this crisis had brought crippling drought and spiraling food prices that continue to worsen the food shortages in both countries. She added that local Church aid workers have been working around the clock to get food and safe, clean water to communities in need.

Understand more about what is happening in Zimbabwe 

A Successful Evening of fun, Prayer and Supper Together

On the night, the quiz teams were ably compered by quiz masters Tony London and John Wiltshire.Then at half-time, we prayed with Sr. Angela, the prayer for people who hunger, and then Sr. Angela said “now enjoy your cheese Ploughman’s Supper!” The Winning Team including two parishioners from Zimbabwe.

At the end of the night of competitive quizzing, the two parishioners from Zimbabwe expressed their appreciation for support for the people of their homeland.

Well done to the Holy Family Parish! It’s your turn to Organise a Quiz Night, have fun, socialise with your fellow parishioners and raise much needed funds to transform the lives of our brothers and sisters overseas! We’d love to hear you quiz night stories and see your pictures!

Donate to the Zimbabwe and Zambia Food Crisis Appeal