On Thursday 21st June Amy Fox, CAFOD Diocesan Officer (Youth) and Emily Heaven (Youth Volunteer) took part in a Vocations Day at Trinity Catholic School in Leamington Spa. The school had set aside an entire day for year 9 students to reflect upon vocations. Along with CAFOD, the students were presented with the Priesthood, the Novitiate, vocations in the community led by two members of the police force, and personal vocations.
The day began with a Mass in which Cannon Edward Stuart preached a sermon about Saint Aloysius Gonzaga the Patron Saint of Teenagers. Though the students would probably not have found Gonzaga’s self flagellation a path to follow, the Saint’s determination and commitment to the vocation he had chosen was a good source of inspiration for the rest of the day.
As CAFOD was presenting a vocation to global justice, Amy’s session began with a world statistics icebreaker. This entailed the students being given a card with a certain number of people on it and having to match it with a fact about the world, such as the number of children who will not go to school this year. This prompted a discussion in all the sessions as all the groups found the statistics shocking. The main ones being that 2.5 billion people have no access to sanitation and that 2.5 billion people live on less than £1 a day, with many of the students expressing disbelief that anyone could survive on such means.
This easily transitioned into a discussion of why CAFOD workers themselves want to work for global justice, with Amy herself describing her belief in the horrifying unfairness of the statistics shown in comparison to the average western lifestyle and how this motivates her to help create change. To explain this Amy used the story of the Good Samaritan which then led onto an activity concerning CAFOD’s basis in Catholic values in which the students were given a number of quotes from scripture and Catholic social teaching and asked to link them with CAFOD’s values – hope, compassion, solidarity, sustainability, stewardship, dignity, and partnership.
This concluded with an explanation of why specifically CAFOD should be considered for a vocation towards global justice. To do this Amy presented an entertaining story perfectly encapsulating why partnership with countries is fundamental to CAFOD’s working ethos:
Once upon a time, in a great valley in Africa, there lived a little monkey. Every year the valley was flooded and when the waters came all the wildlife fled. Everything that would run, ran, everything that could fly, flew, and everything that could climb, went to the top of the tallest trees. During one of these floods the little monkey was at the top of one of these trees, watching houses, branches, rocks etc all wash past, when he spotted a little fish. The fish was struggling to swim against the current and looked like it was going to be crush by debris at any moment. The little monkey, surged with compassion, decided he was not just going to sit and watch and began to climb down the tree to help the fish. Though his tree was being knocked back and forth from the wind the little monkey was determined. When he couldn’t reach the fish from the lowest branch the monkey held onto the tree with his tail and lowered himself into the water. By doing this the monkey successfully grabbed the fish and raced back up the tree. Here the monkey felt pleased and proud of his selfless actions as he placed the fish on a branch where he was out of harm’s way. The End.
The day was a great success, with a great reaction and level of involvement from the students, and CAFOD would like to thank Trinity Catholic School for the invitation and Teresa Castelino for organising the event.
If you are a young person who would like to become more involved with CAFOD, or find out more information about global justice as a vocation, please visit the Great Generation pages on CAFOD’s website: www.cafod.org.uk/greatgeneration, like the CAFOD Great Generation Facebook page and follow us on Twitter – “Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” (Nelson Mandela, 2005)