So on a hot and sunny Friday morning (very unusual for Yorkshire) I set off down to London, with no idea what I was getting myself into. When I reached Romero House, home of CAFOD in London, I met up with seven other retreat centre staff from around the country, along with Tanya who works in Youth Outreach for CAFOD. All nine of us work with young people on a daily basis in a Catholic setting, which can at times be very challenging! It was good to spend time with other people in a similar role, as the world of retreat work can often feel a bit isolated.
Category Archives: greatgeneration
My name is Tom and I’ve been invited to be this month’s guest editor. I’ve been volunteering in CAFOD’s North Wales office for 12 months, performing a wide range of tasks, from something as simple as putting a new contact into the database to preparing resources for an important event. It is safe to say each time I go into the office there is a new challenge waiting to be tackled.
Hey, I’m Caitlin and this month I am CAFOD’s guest editor. I’m a student from Notre Dame RC School, where fundraising is encouraged to be a fundamental part of school life. I believe that everyone should do their best to help others in need, and I am inspired and admire the work that CAFOD does around the world and here in the UK.
In Notre Dame RC School we are encouraged to think with our heads, feel with our hearts and take action with our hands. Awareness of the need for charitable giving is a big feature of school life.
Numerous non-uniform days (we call them mufti-days), pyjama days, sponsored walks and cake sales enjoyed by pupils have raised thousands of pounds over the years for CAFOD and other charities. On a mufti- day every student donates a minimum of £1 to wear their own clothes to school for the day, and hundreds of pounds are raised. Whenever there is a sweet sale or cake sale dozens of hungry students rush to the hall and through this we raise astounding amounts!
My school helps to give students an understanding of the work of CAFOD from their very first day; Ubuntu lessons for all year sevens use CAFOD’s primary and secondary school resources to teach us about CAFOD and the crises in our world, as well as to help us grow as individuals. The word ‘ubuntu’ derives from an African ideal of ‘I am who I am because of others’. By learning about other people and issues around the world we can learn how to become better people and how to make a change in the world. In years ten and eleven, every student studies GCSE RS, which is largely focused on the action that CAFOD takes and the importance of giving to CAFOD.
In Lent the school put on their biggest performance yet, in order to raise money and awareness of CAFOD. Students and staff worked together to produce a musical drama based around the Easter story and the seven last words of Christ. Staff from our school wrote and composed the drama, and the school and diocese were united in putting on the show. The drama was based upon the book ‘Seven Last Words’ by Father Timothy Radcliffe OP (one of CAFOD’s Trustees) and the production incorporated students and staff from schools across Plymouth including Notre Dame, St Boniface College, and the local grammar schools. Music lessons became devoted to the songs of the musical, the drama halls bustled with rehearsals, the art rooms packed with set designers! It was impossible to avoid the buzz that resonated throughout the school as the dates of the performance came closer!
The musical was performed at Notre Dame for all the students and staff that weren’t in an acting or singing role, and it was impossible to be untouched by the dramatic yet spiritual experience that was ‘Seven Last Words’. We were proud to show the product of our hard work when the production went on tour, performing at St Peter’s RC School, Plymouth Cathedral, and a little further afield to Buckfast Abbey and Exeter Cathedral. It was fantastic to share the experience with people outside of our school, and we received superb feedback – the bishop of Plymouth told our school ‘I was immensely moved, and indeed humbled, by the last words experience.’
All the profits from the musical went to CAFOD, and we were all pleased that something so rewarding could help to do good elsewhere. We are hoping to do something like this again soon!
JOY. This is a definitely a word which sums up how I feel about my faith.
I was brought up a Catholic, so going to Mass on a Sunday wasn’t really something I questioned when I was younger, it was just the norm. My faith journey has been a gradual one; I don’t remember a particular point in my life where it really ‘took off’. However, over the past few years I have come to realise just how important my faith is to me.
This faith story by Sarah is part of a set of stories by young people reflecting on what their faith means to them during this Year of Faith. A selection of stories, including Sarah’s, have been published in The Story, the latest publication from the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation, CYMFed. For resources and ideas to mark the Year of Faith, visit cafod.org.uk/yearoffaith
When I was younger I used to go on the Lourdes Youth Pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage I would stop and look around at the 500 other young Catholics I was with, and would always be filled with the joy of belonging. Seeing our faith so alive would assure me that the Church definitely isn’t “dead” or “outdated” as we often hear in the media, but that as youngsters we have an important role to play in the life of the Church. It was working with the sick and elderly pilgrims each year in Lourdes that taught me about service, and how we can put our faith into action by serving others.
These are the words that were said and sung and said and sung and sung some more, and just generally stuck in my head, for the first two weeks of January 2013. But what does that have to do with ‘My Faith Story’?
I have often struggled with my faith, from the nitty-gritty of Catholic Catechism to the basic, foundational belief in God and Jesus Christ. Studying Chemistry at University means that I am quite science orientated, not purely in my interests, but in the way I think about things. I used to drive my primary school teacher bananas, as I would continually ask, why?, not being placated with the simple answer or the syllabus answer. This is still the case, but I always search for the logical reasoning, the answer that makes the most sense. In Chemistry this is often straightforward or at least methodical (I nearly wrote easy, but Chemistry is never easy!). When I come to question my faith and my reasons for believing, it is far from straightforward or methodical. It wouldn’t be faith if there were a nice ten-word answer, would it?
This faith story by Megan is part of a set of stories by young people reflecting on what their faith means to them during this Year of Faith. A selection of stories, including Megan’s, have been published in The Story, the latest publication from the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation, CYMFed. For resources and ideas to mark the Year of Faith, visit cafod.org.uk/yearoffaith Continue reading