10 simple, kind ideas on the International Day of Kindness

When were you last kind to someone? Did you make a loved one breakfast this morning or give your colleague a cheery greeting when you arrived at work?

Therese, who works in our fundraising team at CAFOD has been reflecting on kindness and how to spread more of it through out the world.

“On the international day of kindness, here are 10 simple ideas for you to carry out, to put some more kindness back into the world:

CAFOD World Gifts are kindness in action

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The Child Breadwinners of Bekaa

Presenter and reporter Julie Etchingham travelled to Lebanon to see the work of CAFOD partner Caritas Lebanon. 

The brothers working at the bakery.
The brothers working at the bakery.

In a side road in a small town in the Bekaa Valley Yazan and Majed are hard at work. They are brothers aged 10 and 11. Their day started in darkness, getting up at 4am they were a bit scared to be going out before dawn, to get to their jobs in a local bakery.

The tiny bakery turns out flatbreads for local restaurants. The boys work alongside two grown men. The adults receive $40 (£30) a day. The boys get $3 (£2.30) a day between them. But these meagre earnings are vital for their family to survive after fleeing the war in Syria.

Donate to CAFOD’s Syria Crisis Appeal. Continue reading “The Child Breadwinners of Bekaa”

Gospel Reflection: What can we offer to others?

This reflection and prayer were written by Joy Wanless from Our Lady of Grace parish, Manchester.

Based on the gospel for Sunday 11 November – Mark 12:38-44

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“But she in her poverty has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.”

It’s easy to judge by our own standards, to sometimes forget that all good gifts come from God. Some have gifts to offer to foodbanks. Some are dependent on food banks for the basics to feed their families. There are those who are permanently hungry who Jesus watches just as closely.

Margaret in Batiama, Sierra Leone, experiences the “hungry season”, while they wait for the harvest.

Margaret was struggling, but her life was changed with a small loan from CAFOD which enabled her to buy supplies and set up a shop in her home.

She received training on how to make her business a success. Margaret now earns enough to support her children. She can pass on the gift of the loan and another family’s lives have been changed.

Change a life with the gift of a small loan

She says, “I want to thank CAFOD for appreciating women – especially widowed women fending for themselves.”

What loan can we offer to others?  Prayer, friendship, time, money, comforts? What do we have to put in the offering?

What can we give which, like the widow’s mite, isn’t just in excess of our needs but is a genuine gift from the heart?

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Prayer

Dear Lord, we thank you for your abundant provisions for our lives. We thank you that you show us the way. You don’t judge. You love.  Let’s put our wealth, a gift from you, in the offering and share your love. Amen.

Exploring the refugee crisis with young people

The team of Step into the Gap volunteers have been running sessions, retreats and activities with young people this term on refugees. We asked Kezia and Juliette to tell us a bit about their favourite resources.

Kezia

CAFOD gap year volunteers 2018/2019
Kezia

Placing yourself in a refugee’s position is so difficult. Over the past month I’ve been trying to help young people experience what it’s like to leave your home, to feel the emotions and make decisions that some refugees have to make.

Find refugee resources for young people

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Gospel reflection: There is no commandment greater than love

In this reflection on Mark 12:28-34, Roisin Beirne from our Legacy and Remembrance team considers the command to love God and our neighbour.

Based on the gospel for Sunday 4 November – Mark 12:28-34 

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Honour a loved one by donating in their memory

Roisin Beirne, CAFOD’s Candlelight Fund Officer, shares a little about two special women who have been honoured by a donation to CAFOD in their memory.

During November, the month of Remembrance, the Church encourages us to come together and reflect on all those who have died yet continue to touch our lives.

As the Candlelight Funds Officer here at CAFOD, I offer support to those who have lost a loved one and are looking for a way to honour them through CAFOD’s work. Some families set up a Candlelight Fund. This is a special fund in memory of a loved one who has died, where all donations in their name are combined to make a life-changing difference to the world’s poorest communities. It truly does celebrate a life while touching the lives of thousands more.

Donate in memory of a loved one

Many have told me how much comfort they gain from knowing that good is being done in their loved one’s name. As a way of saying thank you for the incredible strength and kindness these families show, I’d like to share a little about two women who have been remembered in this way.

Continue reading “Honour a loved one by donating in their memory”

Gospel reflection: The importance of serving others

Roisin Beirne, in our Legacy and Remembrance team, reflects on this week’s gospel (Mark 10:35-45). She considers the legacy that our loved ones who have died have left in our lives and their impact on the world.

Based on the gospel for Sunday 21 October – Mark 10:35-45

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“Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant.”

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Our newest saints: St Oscar Romero and St Pope Paul VI

Francis Stewart works in our theology team. In this blog he looks at the links between the two new saints whose lives have such prophetic meaning for CAFOD.

By canonising Oscar Romero and Pope Paul VI together, Pope Francis is surely pointing out to us the connections between two humble yet courageous men. So what links these two great advocates of “a Church of the poor and for the poor”?

“Patron saints” of CAFOD’s work

Both men have been inspirational for CAFOD’s mission. This is because of what the teachings of one and the life of the other show us about a true encounter with people who are poor.

Find out more about Romero’s life, with our timeline.

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Saint Romero: My inspiration

Blessed Oscar Romero is being officially recognised as a saint on 14 October 2018
Tania Dalton frequently travelled to El Salvador with CAFOD.

Tania Dalton was a member of CAFOD’s Latin America team for nearly 13 years. In this blog she explains how Archbishop Oscar Romero has inspired her to begin a new chapter in her life.

Two big things are happening in my life right now:

  1. I have started to train as a primary school teacher
  2. Blessed Oscar Romero is being officially recognised as a saint on 14 October

It might seem conceited to say the two things are related, but in my mind, they are.

Inspired by Oscar Romero

I first heard about Archbishop Oscar Romero when I started working in CAFOD in 1999. I am inspired daily by Romero’s unwavering option for the poor, although I was a small child when he was killed for his defence of basic human rights and social justice.

Read more about Oscar Romero’s life

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Step into the Gap: Tackling hunger one bowl at a time

Caroline Collins is a Step into the Gap volunteer at Newman University in Birmingham. This week she is getting ready for Family Fast Day.

At Newman University we have been preparing to swap our usual Friday lunch boxes for a simple soup lunch.

CAFOD gap year volunteers 2018/2019
Caroline

For so many of our brothers and sisters around the world, the harvest determines whether their families will go to bed hungry tonight.

For Lilian in Zambia, a good harvest is so important.  It means she can feed herself and her family in the coming months, and sell any extra food to buy school clothes, books and materials to build a home.

Donate to CAFOD’s Fast Day appeal

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