Maricristina Lubrano from our digital team tells us about her colleagues who are giving something up for Lent.
It is at times like Lent, when we stop to reflect on a number of things and get closer to God, that we often realise how blessed we are. Right now I feel blessed to be working with a group of committed and passionate people. With only two weeks to go until Ash Wednesday I know lots of people will be trying to decide what to cut out in order to create a change in their own lives or in the wider world.
I’ve been talking to my colleagues about their preparations for Lent and have been impressed by how dedicated they are to make a difference to the lives of those who suffer and taking care of the gifts we have been given by God. Many people are focussing on using Lent to help people living in poverty to cope with the destruction that extreme weather and climate change can bring. Lots of people at CAFOD are making Lenten promises, and we all have our own little challenging and exciting cut it out activities to try and reduce our impact on the environment.
Phil, Sally and Megan have, in my humble opinion, set themselves a really tough challenge. They are giving up meat. I am thinking of those bacon butties or long lazy days spent in a pub eating delicious Sunday roasts, or fun Saturday nights out with friends having a nice steak and chips. This is certainly not an easy challenge, but they have the support of us all over this period of time. Please send them lots of encouraging thoughts, or let us know if you are taking up this challenge, too!
Sally says: “Pork and apple sausages, chorizo stuffed mushrooms, steak and chips. I really do love meat. But every time I eat meat I have a pang of guilt – guilt at the contribution to greenhouse gases, the huge volumes of water used, the land taken to feed farmed animals instead of humans. So this Lent I’m going to cut all that out. Not only will I be helping our environment by cutting out meat, but I’m also going to donate the money I save, so CAFOD can help more people like Kyin Nu from Myanmar.”
Megan too is braving the no meat challenge: “Some scientists say the two most effective ways we can reduce our impact on the environment is to eat less red meat and stop flying. As both of my sisters live abroad, the latter is somewhat tricky. The former, however, is something I can absolutely do. That’s why this Lent there will be no more burgers, no more bacon sarnies and certainly no more Sunday roasts for me. I’m looking forward to playing my part in cutting climate change and putting my faith into action for forty days and, who knows, perhaps longer”.
Let me tell you about Mark who is going even further – he’s a vegetarian but this Lent he’s decided to give up dairy and egg, cornerstones of his diet. “I became a vegetarian because I believe in non-violence and saw that I couldn’t continue with this belief while eating animals or fish. Lent’s going to be tough. Not only will I stop eating food I enjoy but I’ll also have to check on my choices when I want a treat: a pint of beer or glass of wine – many aren’t vegan. But in a way, I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s a chance to reaffirm my ethics and, because the UK government has agreed to match our donations, I’m going to give every pintless, peaceful pound to CAFOD knowing that my efforts in the next six weeks will be doubled.”
Two members of our fundraising team are giving up their treats this Lent. Jo is preparing to give up chocolate – read her plan for how not to give up. Anne is hoping to fill up her collection pot by giving up biscuits and cake. She says: “Working in CAFOD’s Community Fundraising team I get to hear so many inspiring stories about the work of CAFOD’s partners, and what they have been able to achieve thanks to the generosity of CAFOD supporters . So, this Lent, as the government matches our donations pound for pound, why not join me in cutting out the biscuits with your midmorning or afternoon tea break and donate to CAFOD instead?”
But cutting out sleep can be as tough as giving up our favourite foods. Yes, you read that correctly. Sleep! Ann is cutting out on the snooze button which will give her the opportunity to start each day with a prayer and appreciate God’s creation on her walk to work.
She asks: “Ever think ‘Just five more minutes’ when your alarm goes off in the morning? I do, every single morning. And when I say five minutes, I mean forty-five”. This should give us an idea of how much she is going to have to push herself every morning. Do you think that this would hard or easy? What would you choose to cut out?
Here at CAFOD we’re all very excited and a bit scared of the challenges ahead of us. But we know it is going to be fine – we are going to help each other, and have the added motivation that comes from knowing that these efforts are going to make a real difference to people who don’t have luxuries they can afford to give up.
Updates will follow weekly so you can see how we are getting on with our own challenges and you can let us know how yours is going, too! Read about what some colleagues have decided to double this Lent. Have you decided what you’re going to cut out yet? Tell us in the comments box below or talk to us on twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram by tagging @CAFOD.
Watch some CAFOD members of staff talking about their cut it out and double it up Lent challenges: