National Volunteer Week : Planting seeds in young hearts

This week is National Volunteer Week, and we’re celebrating the amazing and varied work of our CAFOD Volunteers by sharing their stories with you.

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We begin with CAFOD Education Volunteers and John Vine, who visits Primary Schools on behalf of CAFOD, tells us what inspired him to volunteer.


John Vine, CAFOD Education Volunteer

When I was a child, missionary priests used to visit our school from time to time to show us pictures of the children they worked with in Africa, who always looked happy but obviously poor. Ever since then I have had a feeling of compassion for those overseas who don’t have as much as me. So, when CAFOD started up it seemed natural for me to support it financially.

In 2000 I retired and wanted to keep myself active so I decided to get more involved in CAFOD.  At first I signed up to be a Parish Contact and MP Correspondent but a few years later I heard that CAFOD were looking for School Volunteers. I was wary, as I had worked for Inland Revenue and had no experience of teaching but my wife encouraged me, pointing out how well I got on with our grandchildren, so I decided to give it a go!

I went for training at CAFOD and then it was time for my first school visit. My main worry was that the teachers would realise my lack of experience but actually they were just as eager to learn about CAFOD as the children.

I love being with young children who are so willing to learn and so willing to
participate. I feel I am planting a seed, just like meeting those missionaries did for me.

The ethos of Catholic schools means that they want to encourage the children to do something positive and CAFOD gives them an opportunity to do this. And it’s not just about raising money – children can pray, find out more about their global family, do their bit to save the planet for instance by joining a walking bus, and take part in campaigns. Many children show such an amazing commitment to justice and I think the younger we can make them aware, the better.

Feeling inspired? Find out more about volunteering with CAFOD>>

Oscar Romero: Celebrate with us

Archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified in San Salvador tomorrow (Saturday 23 May 2015) and millions of Catholics around the world – including CAFOD supporters, partners and staff – will be celebrating his inspirational life and legacy.

Celebrate with us by coming to these fantastic events:

Mass of Celebration for Oscar Romero’s life and witness, 23 May 2015

At 8am on Saturday 23 May (tomorrow) Mass will be held at St Thomas Aquinas parish (Ham Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7HT).

A Special Mass, 24 May 2015

At 6.15pm on Sunday 24 May the Church of the Immaculate Conception (Farm Street, London) will hold a special Mass with guest preacher, Michael Kirwin SJ. After Mass, a relic of Blessed Oscar Romero will be present in the church for veneration.

More on the relic is available via the Jesuit’s in Britain.

Summer Youth Day, 20 June 2015

For our young people aged 11-16, this year’s Summer Youth Day in Aylesford, presented by Southwark Catholic Youth Service and The Archbishop Romero Trust on Saturday 20 June, will be on the theme of Aspire not to have more but to be more. 

Romero Birthday Mass, 15 August 2015

At 12:30pm on Saturday 15 August a special Mass will be held at St George’s Cathedral to mark Romero’s birthday.

You can find more information and resources about Romero, including photographs, a powerpoint reflection, prayers, and resources for school children and young people, at

Nepal Earthquake Appeal


CAFOD has launched a £3 million emergency appeal following the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a coalition of leading aid agencies of which CAFOD is part, has announced that it has received over £19 million in donations just a day after their Nepal Earthquake Appeal was launched. This exceeds the amounts donated to the Philippines Typhoon, Haiti Earthquake and Pakistan Floods Appeals within their first 24 hours.

Collapsed buildings in Swatha Square, Patan (one of the 3 districts of Kathmandu)

Collapsed buildings in Swatha Square, Patan (one of the 3 districts of Kathmandu)

CAFOD has provided £200,000 to our partner Caritas Nepal in order to provide shelter, food and sanitation to people affected by the earthquake which hit Nepal on Saturday 25 April. More than eight million people’s lives (a quarter of the population) have been torn apart, over 5,000 have died and an estimated 6,700 people have been injured. We are particularly concerned for communities in remote areas that have not yet been reached and need to be ready to act quickly when access becomes possible.  Support will also be needed for the long term – long after the television cameras have left – to enable communities to rebuild their lives and plan for the future.


How you can help

1. Donate to the appeal online now>>>

2. Pray for all those affected:

Merciful and loving God,
we pray for our sisters and brothers in Nepal,
for those who have died,
and for those who mourn.

We ask that through your grace,
you may bless and comfort your people.
For those who are afraid;
bring peace,
for those who are toiling to save;
bring strength,
and for those who are lost;
bring shelter under the shadow of your wings.

Open our hearts Lord,
help us to be with your people
through our actions and prayers,
as we hold onto hope in you.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Rachel McCarthy/CAFOD

Find special prayers for the people of Nepal as well as intercessions that can be used in your parish at

3. Raise awareness by downloading the appeal poster>> and displaying it in your parish, school or group

4. Make you donation go further:

The Big Give website offers you the opportunity to make your donation to the CAFOD Nepal Earthquake Appeal go further. By using The Big Give website your donation could be doubled by the organisation’s match funders.

Donate using the Big Give website>>

Donations will be doubled up to £500 and are available on first come first serve basis depending on the number of match funders who contribute to the website.


If you would like to find out more about CAFOD’s response in Nepal, please visit