Looking Back on 2017 in Southwark

Lots has happened in 2017 !

In January Catherine from Whistable

In February, we learnt more about Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ examination of the many issues affecting our planet and spread the message to young people in our diocese.

In March, soup lunches were held across the diocese in aid of Lent Fast Day.

Power to Be

CAFOD supporters at the Houses of Parliament

In May, we joined other CAFOD supporters in meeting with MPs at Parliament to remind them of the importance of International aid and tackling climate change.

In July, acclaimed electronic band Ooberfuse inspired Greenwich students to take action on climate change through our Power to Be Campaign.

In August, the Archbishop Romero Trust held a mass to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Oscar Romero at St George’s Cathedral.


A CAFOD supporter outside Sainsbury’s Crayford

In October, we campaigned against Sainsbury’s decision to ditch the Fairtrade scheme on some of its own-brand tea. Also, soup lunches were held across the diocese in aid of Harvest Fast Day.

In November, we celebrated the exciting news that the scheduled eviction of the Maua community in Brazil has been suspended following months of campaigning by CAFOD supporters.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all CAFOD supporters for all their hard work over the last year. We couldn’t achieve anything without you.

Gratitude to and from Our CAFOD Volunteers

Several CAFOD volunteers have received awards honouring multiple years of dedicated service to CAFOD. Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern, highlights some of the volunteers who have received these prestigious certificates.

A big thank you goes out to all of our CAFOD volunteers who have dedicated their time to serving CAFOD. As a sign of our appreciation for them, CAFOD has recently granted some milestone certificates honouring their dedicated volunteering efforts for multiple years of service.

Learn more about what it means to be a CAFOD volunteer


Eileen with volunteers Roger Wright, Anne Unseld and Fred Mendonca

We as CAFOD are grateful for the post-awarding messages our volunteers have been sending us, and we would like to acknowledge some of them here. Grania Frazer, who has served CAFOD for 10 years, says “May I thank [CAFOD] for their THANK YOU for 10 years of volunteering. I had not realised that it was so long.” Another volunteer, John Foley, modestly, and yet powerfully states that “…the reward is just in helping CAFOD.”

Anne Towner 10 yr certificate

Anne Towner, a 10-year CAFOD volunteer

Some of our volunteers even have decades of volunteer experience under their belt. Long time volunteer Josephine Sands tells us “Thank you for my certificate received yesterday. It’s nice to have it… I started volunteering for CAFOD around 1995 when the office was in Dartford!”

Sign up here to get started as a volunteer

Eileen Hayes, a CAFOD administrator, says to one of our volunteers, “Whenever we meet or chat with volunteers, we are so inspired by the acts of kindness that you do. You give us a great hope that a fairer world is possible.” And a fairer world doesn’t just happen; it requires time, and it amazes us at how CAFOD volunteers are willing use their free time to build a better future. In fact, the summed total of all the years our volunteers have served is about 640 years! Clearly, a large part of CAFOD’s foundation hinges on the drive of our volunteers. We’ll have to make sure to celebrate once we hit 1000 years!

Even while receiving the certificates, many of our volunteers were still hard at work


Eileen presenting a thank you cake to our office volunteers Gaynor and Liz

preparing and speaking at Mass for this past Fast Day–a sign of their continuous support. Though we have received several “Thank You” messages after delivering our certificates to them, the biggest gratitude goes to our volunteers. Thank you for your service and we hope for your continuing support and zeal for creating positive change in the world.


Time to Say Thanks

Cutting the Cake

The atmosphere was wonderful in the Pavilion at Romero House last Wednesday (27th June) when I attended an event to thank CAFOD Volunteers for 50 years of their fantastic hard work and support.

We had the privilege of meeting and hearing from two of our overseas Partners. Sister Pascalina Mambwe, a Franciscan Sister who coordinates the HIV and AIDS programme in Ndola Diocese in Northern Zambia, spoke passionately about the work the Sisters are doing with CAFOD, She said:

“With CAFOD’s help, we are working to empower women and train them to provide for themselves without having to resort to such things as prostitution. We have set up special centres and support groups for people with HIV and AIDS to learn how to live and flourish with it and not to spread it to others. We are also trying to teach couples who want to marry or live together to get tested for the virus first, something which is a taboo in my country.

I am proudly standing here to tell you of the impact your contributions to CAFOD are having on people living with HIV . You don’t know how much you are doing for vulnerable people  in Zambia.”

Afterwards Father Andreu Oliva SJ, who was the former Head of the Jesuit Development Services in El Salvador, spoke about his experience of working in partnership with CAFOD, he said:

“Certainly for us it is impossible to think of international cooperation without CAFOD.  And in CAFOD we have a sister organisation with whom we work, hand in hand, to promote justice and development in Central America.”

Father Andreu went on to reflect on some of the experiences that have particularly stayed with him. He told the moving story of a housing project he had coordinated :

“Between 2002 and 2004, I coordinated a CAFOD-funded housing programme in El Salvador that benefited more than 4,000 families.  People had lost their houses in the earthquakes and never thought they would have a dignified and safe house again….

…When they received the keys to their finished house, with title deed that said it was theirs, you can imagine how happy they were.  Many people did not dare to live in their house at first, even though they had built it themselves, on their own land, because it seemed to them incredible that they could have a house like that.  In truth, it is very difficult to describe how happy they were at being part of that project, a project which gave them so much strength and resolved such a big need.”

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During the time for questions that followed the speeches, it was great to hear the Volunteers respond by expressing their gratitude for the amazing work that Father Andreu and Sister Pascalina do. Many of the Volunteers told me how humbled and inspired they were by the speeches.

To end the event we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to CAFOD as Father Andreu and Sister Pascalina cut a special thank you cake, of which we all enjoyed a piece!

(Blog post written by Sarah Westrap CAFOD Southwark)