Fishing for hope – the hope of our future

 Mick Shepherd is a CAFOD Volunteer from St Joseph in Greenwich. He lives near Norwood Lake. He is sharing with us his experience of how fishing is about hope and how hope is at the core of his volunteering. Mick has a more meaningful understanding of the joy of fishing and the hope of the catch. Here is what he says – 

Peter - a local fisherman at Norwood Lake

Peter our local fisherman is always hopeful of a great catch at Norwood Lake. We too should possess an abundance of hope.

‘Norwood Lake is quite near my house, a large lake teeming with fish and wildlife. I walk there most days but have never understood fishing – I see the same men sitting there every day, lines in the water, waiting for a catch. They always throw the fish back so I think, ‘What’s the point? Why spend every afternoon just sitting, waiting? Then yesterday I got it! – it’s about hope, they are sitting there and they are hoping! In fact, they are full of hope renewed with each day’s fishing!

Without hope, we ware all finished: in the morning we wake up hoping it will be fine; we go shopping, hoping to find the   things we need. We hope that the children have a good day at school (the first thing we ask when they get home): later on, we hope they will pass their exams; we arrange a holiday, hoping it will be sunny: we turn on the TV, hoping to see our favourite programme. When hospitalised and needing an operation, we hope it will be successful(we dread hearing ‘It’s hopeless, there’s no hope of recovery’). In prison, the only thing keeping prisoners alive is the hope that they will gain early release for good behaviour – without hope, imprisonment is a death sentence.

Peter - Bringing in the catch

The hope of the catch is symbolic of life’s hope

Once, I brought a pupil (Kriya, 10) to St. Joseph’s; Kriya was a Hindu, keen to learn about Christianity. He joined the children at Thursday mass while I led them in song. Afterwards I took him round the church, showing him the stations of the Cross and the statues. Afterwards he said ‘Mick, I think your religion is very sad’ (indicating Jesus on the Cross) ‘Hinduism is very joyful’.

I explained that the Cross was not the end of the story but its beginning, a symbol of hope, love and forgiveness , the empty Cross and empty tomb the ‘sure hope’ that Christians believed in.

 

Peter the Fisherman

Peter says that this lake is a peaceful sanctuary and so we are encouraged to always be peaceful and hopeful in life.

The work of CAFOD is based on giving people hope in some of the poorest and most deprived areas of the world: the old adage is true, ‘Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day: teach a man how to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime’. And this is precisely the approach adopted by CAFOD, one of giving people the wherewithal and the means to enable them to provide for themselves, their families and their communities. This enabling help gives people new hope, and this is why I continue to support CAFOD and its wonderful work.

The next time I walk round Norwood Lake, I shall have more understanding, not just of fishing but of the ‘sure hope’ we Christians all share’.

For hope – Proverbs 13:12 says ‘… is a desire fulfilled – is a tree of life’. We at CAFOD help our brothers and sisters to achieve their desires, which is like a tree ‘planted by the rivers of waters’. Refreshing waters that makes our desires bloom in the hope of the now and the hope of a better future –  what a catch is hope!

If you wish to volunteer for CAFOD, please take a look at the various roles on our website or call us at the Southwark Volunteer Center 020-8466-9901.

 

February CAFOD Lent Fast Day Briefing in Southwark

This Lent Fast Day we will be hearing about how Florence from Zambia turned one tiny fish into a thriving business and a future for her family, with your help.

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CAFOD Volunteer during Harvest Fast Day Briefing 2016

Come along to one of our CAFOD Lent Fast Day Briefing. Find out all you need to know about the coming Lent Fast Day and the community we are focussing on in Zambia. Share ideas with other volunteers about how you can raise awareness in your parish.

 

You will also hear our guest Speaker Claire Dixon, head of CAFOD latin America, share her experience on how CAFOD works with its partners.

Please come along to one of our Fast Day Briefing:

3 February in Bexleyheath / 10:30am -12:30pm – St John Vianney. 21 Heathfield Road, Bexleyheath, DA6 8NP. Register here
Or
4 February in Amigo Hall, Lambeth/ workshop 2 – 12:15pm-2:45pm – Lambeth, London SE1 7HY, next to St Georges Cathedral. Special guest: Clare Dixon CAFOD head of Latin America.  Register here
Or
6 February (tbc) at St Josephs Bromley / 8-9pm – 1 Orchard Road, Bromley, BR1 2PR
Or
11 February at CAFOD Volunteer Centre the Church of Christ the King, 1st Floor, 29 Bramley Road, London, N14 4HE from 10am – 12noon. This meeting will include a talk by guest speaker Mark Chamberlain, who has first hand experience of the projects in Zambia which we will promoting this Fast Day. Register here

Book online or for more information please contact us at the Southwark Volunteer Centre on 020 8466 9901

Lent Fast Day is Friday 10 March, and if you are the Fast Day contact in your parish, your pack will be with you in the first week of February.