Rachel McCarthy works in the CAFOD Theology Programme. She reflects on the journey of Lent in this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
“The great river of mercy wells up and overflows unceasingly” Misericordiae Vultus #25
As we celebrate the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, we are called to reflect on God’s overflowing love for us all. In the pastoral letter Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis invites us to contemplate God’s mercy as “a spring that will never run dry, no matter how many people draw from it” #25. Lent offers an opportunity to draw from the wellsprings, to feel the refreshing waters pour over us, and to share this source of life and love with our neighbours.
The Year of Mercy is not something to be rushed into. For me, throwing ourselves into a sort of hurried anxiety to appear merciful to others would be missing the point. The holy year is, similarly to the season of Lent, more of a journey on which the Lord accompanies us.
To truly understand what it means to be merciful, we must first reflect on the mercy we have received from God. I recall a few times in my life when I have been touched by God’s mercy. One which stands out was when I was sitting on the ground, reflecting through imaginative contemplation on the story of a woman who was a sinner (Luke 7:36-50). The woman bends down to Jesus, her tears falling upon his feet and she wipes them away with her hair. Listening to the words of the Gospel with the summer’s breeze flowing through my hair, I felt the same feeling I do every year on kissing the Cross on Good Friday: an outpouring of love for God.
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It is worth meditating on the words of the Gospel to understand the mystery of mercy. While they are at table together, Jesus says to Simon, “I tell you that her sins, many as they are, have been forgiven her, because she has shown such great love. It is someone who is forgiven little who shows little love” (Luke 7:47). Continue reading
Tobi is a CAFOD young leader from the class of 2014-15. She has spent the past year working alongside 130 young people from six dioceses, developing leadership skills and learning about justice issues with CAFOD. In this blog she reflects on her year.
Tobi training with other CAFOD young leaders
Today I joined the CAFOD young leaders of 2014-15 for a day of reflection and celebration at Romero House in London. I can’t believe it has been a year since I joined CAFOD last year through the Youth Leadership Programme! I joined after hearing about it from our charity group meetings. CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and across the world CAFOD do their best to bring hope and help to poor communities mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, aiming to end poverty and injustice.
I chose to take part in the program as it not only aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of international development, global poverty and social justice, but it supports you to become a leader. It taught us how to gain and enhance important life skills such as organisational, communication and leadership skills, which can be transferred into everyday life.
Paula Nyunt from our Humanitarian team, who is originally from Myanmar, reflects on the country’s New Year festivities.
Support CAFOD’s work in Myanmar and across the world this Lent
As Myanmar, Cambodia and Bangladesh celebrate New Year this week, I was reminded of my childhood when we celebrated the water festival in the city that was then Rangoon.
Myanmar has 12 festivals, one each month around the full moon day. But Myanmar’s New Year water festival, Thin-gyan, is the most famous, often with street celebrations as well as various religious activities. It usually falls around mid-April and it is celebrated over a period of four to five days ending in the New Year.
There is a great deal of friendliness and goodwill among people during the festival. The sprinkling of water is intended to symbolically “wash away” one’s iniquities. In major cities such as Yangon and Mandalay, garden hoses or locally made water shooters and other devices from which water can be sprayed are used, in addition to simple bowls and cups. Sometimes water balloons and even fire hoses have been used. It is the hottest time of the year and a good dousing is welcomed by most.
During the Water Festival, the Myanmar government relaxes the restrictions on gatherings. However, the lack of water in recent years has restricted the use of large quantities of water in some parts of the country.
Temporary water-spraying stations are set up, and double as dance floors, many of them are sponsored by wealthy families and businesses. Street performances and traditional floats by puppeteers, orchestras, dance troupes, comedians, actors and singers singing and chanting slogans are commonplace. Support CAFOD’s work in Myanmar and across the world this Lent Continue reading
Bernie (second from right) with the All Saints young climate bloggers.
Bernie Healy is Chaplaincy Coordinator for All Saints Catholic High School. She is accompanying a group of CAFOD young climate bloggers. Here she talks about the joys and challenges of enabling her group of young people to campaign on climate and explains why the young climate bloggers training week end was like stepping back to her childhood!
My name is Bernie and I am a Chaplaincy Coordinator for a secondary school ‘up North’! I’ve been in this role for the last seven or eight years, time goes so fast it could be even longer.
In September of last year I introduced CAFOD’s One Climate, One World campaign to the school. I asked every form to think of something that would be affected by the climate if we don’t act now. The results were fantastic and we created a heart to display of all the things we love and don’t want to lose.
Download free One Climate, One World campaign resources for teachers, chaplains and youth leaders to inspire young people. Continue reading
22 March is World Water Day. Thanks to your support, we have helped thousands of people around the world to have access to clean, safe water. Donate to our Lent Appeal today and the UK Government will match what you give, £1 for £1, enabling us to reach more of the world’s poorest communities.
If you walk up the slope at the edge of Simoi Masiodo’s tiny village, you’re confronted by a startling sight: thick plumes of steam spurt up from the barren ground. Today, thanks to your support, we’re using this steam to transform people’s lives.
On the edge of Kenya’s Rift Valley, hundreds of steam jets emerge from volcanic hot springs, hidden deep beneath the surface. In some places, these remarkable natural phenomena are tourist attractions. But Simoi’s village – a small cluster of mud huts surrounded by scrubland – is a long way off the tourist trail.
The village is extremely remote, and it’s hard to overstate how difficult life used to be for Simoi. For ten years, this was her daily routine: she would leave her village at four in the morning, along with the rest of her family and all their animals. They would trek through thick forest, taking care to avoid hyenas and buffaloes. Finally, at around midday, they would reach the nearest stream, where they would fetch water. Then they would turn around and set off home again. Continue reading