Rachel McCarthy works in the CAFOD Theology Programme. She reflects on the struggles of our sisters and brothers living in poverty, and how our prayers can make a real difference.
Today is Women’s World Day of Prayer. I reflect on the experiences of the many women and girls around the world who struggle without access to water, like Nangiro Nadiim from Uganda.
Nadiim has seen how devastating the effects of drought can be. In the dry and dusty region of Karamoja, the lack of water affects families, animals and crops- but it is often women who suffer the most.
Nadiim says, “Life today is even worse than before. Before, we had lots of crops and cows, but now there is no rain. Our cows have starved because there is no grass. I don’t know if our children will survive.”
It’s hard to imagine what Nadiim is going through; to be forced into fear for your children’s future. I’m not sure I could bear it.
But our faith compels us not to turn away. Pope Francis encourages us to “open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity… let us recognise that we are compelled to heed their cry for help!” Misericordiae Vultus #15
Stations of the Cross
By listening to the voices of Nadiim and all our neighbours who are vulnerable, we pray with hope that their lives will be transformed.
I am inspired by parishes and schools across England and Wales who are holding prayer vigils and Stations of the Cross this Lent. This is a beautiful way of sharing our compassion and love for our global family.
Our Stations of the Cross resource is intended to accompany you on your journey of faith, and to see Jesus, the face of God’s mercy, in our world today.
It includes a PowerPoint reflection which you can display in your parish or community, and a service sheet to guide you through the fifteen stations. As you reflect on Christ’s journey to the Cross, we invite you to listen to stories like Nadiim’s from Uganda, to help you contemplate the Lord’s Passion in a spirit of solidarity.
Prayers of hope
It is often the act of prayer which gives us hope and enables us see things in a new light. This is certainly true for Nadiim.
Despite the challenges which Nadiim faces, she says, “With the other women, we pray to God for rain. We sing and cry for rain: ‘God help us. Give us rain and give us water so that the crops can grow, the animals can have grass and we can feed our children’.”
I pray for Nadiim’s community who face the challenge of a lack of water. I pray that they will have enough water for their families, and they will know that they are not forgotten.
Let us join our prayers together with our sisters and brothers this Lent, in hope that we all may draw from the spring of God’s mercy.