Legacies are building a brighter future

Hannah Caldwell, CAFOD’s legacy officer, explains what she loves about legacies.

People are sometimes surprised to hear that I love my job. “Gifts in wills…?” they ask cautiously, “isn’t that kind of…depressing?” My answer is an assured “No!”

Because it’s quite the opposite. Gifts in wills, also known as legacies, are about life, not death, and it’s really special to be part of a supporter’s journey to decide to leave a gift to CAFOD in this way.

Find out more about the difference gifts in wills make to CAFOD’s work

Here are my favourite things about legacies:

They are a sign of hope

One of my favourite passages of scripture is from the Book of Jeremiah, ‘”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”’

Girls collecting water at a school in Kenya

Gifts in wills are helping children have a more hopeful future.

A legacy is a gift of hope, a gift pledged today to promise to bring about a better future for others.

It’s easy to be cynical about the way the world is, or resign ourselves to the feeling that things can’t change. But a legacy flies in the face of this defeatism! It says things can change; that the world can be a better place. And through their gift we can help bring about that change for many years to come. A legacy is part of building a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.

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Time for Time Out

Daniel Hale is CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns. In November, CAFOD will be hosting retreats all around the country, giving supporters a chance to reflect on faith and taking action in light of the Year of Mercy.

There are only 3 more weeks until the end of the Year of Mercy, the holy year called by Pope Francis to reflect on the mercy of God. Of course reflection is good at any time, but why did the Pope ask for this year to be the year?

I think it was a clever way to ask us to take a fresh look at the problems faced by the world and its people. The refugee crisis, to which Pope Francis had tried to draw so much attention was one such issue.


The Lampedusa Cross has been an image of hope during the Year of Mercy


Over several years Francis had done a lot to promote the cause of refugees, including visiting Lampedusa, where so many migrants washed up on European shores. But the world was slow to act.

Send refugees a message of hope

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Harvest Gospel Reflection: “Pray continually and never lose heart”

Paul Howes, Head of Directorate at CAFOD, has written this reflection and prayer based on the gospel for Sunday 16 October (Luke 18:1-8). Sign up to receive weekly reflections from CAFOD by email

“Then he told them a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart.”

Pope Francis in Lesbos

“Pope Francis invites us to step back and make time for reflection”

Jesus tells us a story that is all too true – a defenceless widow is taken advantage of and refused her rights.

The judge and widow in this parable represent opposite ends of the social spectrum. The judge is the epitome of power and the widow the epitome of powerlessness. Through sheer persistence she wears down the unscrupulous judge until he gives her justice.

We see that persistence pays off and that through faith and trust in God, and prayer, all things can become possible.

Help beat hunger in Bolivia with a monthly gift

Of course we prefer prayer to grant what we ask for as soon as we ask it. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis refers to the process of ‘rapidification’, the continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet coupled with a more intensified pace of life and work.

We have become used to things happening instantaneously. We expect medicine to give instant relief. We expect technology to instantly connect us to family on the other side of the world.

Jhonny's greenhouse, Bolivia

Greenhouses like this one on the Bolivian Altiplano protect crops from the harsh environment all year round.

We expect an instant return on our investments. Shouldn’t it be the same with prayer?

But God does not promise instant answers to prayers. Pope Francis invites us to step back and make time for reflection. This is the same with prayer. We need the persistence and the faith of the defenceless widow.

£17 a month, over the next two years, can buy the materials to build a greenhouse

Lord, give me the perseverance and patience to make time for prayer and for you. Help me to understand that you are always there for me and that my prayers, so far as they are for my good, will be heard. Amen.

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World Food Day: Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too

For the last 70 years, World Food Day has been celebrated on 16 October to raise awareness of all those who suffer from hunger. With our climate rapidly changing, the way we grow food must also change. This World Food Day, Sally Kitchener shares how Susana in Bolivia is working with one of CAFOD’s partners to learn how to adapt to the changing climate.

Susana on her land in the Altiplano, Bolivia.

With the climate changing, Susana is struggling to grow enough food on her farm in Bolivia.

“God made us from the earth, from the land. And He also told us to work the land.” 58-year-old Susana Marca Escobar furrows her brow as her eyes scan across her farm.

“But the climate is changing. The heat burns the land and the soil is like fire. Our poor little plants, when they are just seedlings, how can they survive?”

Susana has been working the land her entire life. When she was a teenager, she already knew how to grow the staple foods common in this area of Bolivia – potatoes, beans, quinoa and maize.

It has never been an easy job. The Altiplano where she lives is around 12,000 feet above sea level and not only suffers from a lack of water, but from unpredictable hail storms that often appear without warning. The hailstones can devastate an entire field of potatoes in a matter of minutes, wiping out months of hard work and destroying families’ food supply and their only method of earning money.

Donate to help families in Bolivia when their crops are destroyed

The conditions here have always been tough for those who make a living from the land, but Susana remembers a different time. Continue reading

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Harvest 2016: Battles in the garden in Bolivia and back home in the UK

Conditions on the Bolivian Altiplano are tough

Conditions on the Bolivian Altiplano are tough. Even when the harvest is good, Vladimir and Maria’s diet is mainly potatoes and beans

Laura Ouseley works in CAFOD’s Media team. This Harvest, inspired by the efforts of our partners in Bolivia, Laura tells us about her own struggles for vegetable garden bliss.

I’ve only had my allotment a couple of years, but have already learnt so much. My friends and family have also learnt – the hard way – that it is now my favourite (and they would argue, only) topic of conversation!

Join us in helping Bolivian families enjoy bountiful harvests

Whilst I’ve discovered so much about the different varieties of fruit and vegetables that can be grown, I’ve learnt far more about the challenges faced by the grower: from fighting back pests, preventing the spread of disease, removing stubborn weeds and preparing soil, to trying to deal with the impacts of unpredictable weather and climate.

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