The power of a gift

Mother and son in their garden in Bangladesh
Shukla and her son in their vegetable garden

With the feast of Pentecost being celebrated earlier this month, Lily Bliss of CAFOD’s Legacy team shares her thoughts on the power of a gift. From that first Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit, which inspired faith through generations, to a gift in a Will – a powerful act of love which can transform lives around the world.

A gift that inspired faith through generations

The event of the first Pentecost was remarkable, with the sound of the violent wind and the dramatic sight of the tongues of fire above each person. On that day, the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the apostles. It’s a gift that has inspired faith through generations.

‘Suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them.’

Acts 2:2-3

Through my work in CAFOD’s Legacy team I get to speak to people about what a gift in their Will means to them. People tell me how they want to pass something on that can have a lasting impact. A gift that reflects their values and one that encompasses their life’s work – a gift of love.

Two people
Niall and Lily from CAFOD’s Legacy Team

The impact of a gift left in a Will

Gifts left in Wills fund a third of all our international development work. Of course, the true impact of a gift is one we never will know; the power of these gifts is immeasurable.

For example, take Shukla, a mother who lives in southern Bangladesh. After she lost her husband, she received help from a local project funded by CAFOD. She learnt new skills in sustainable farming and regained her confidence. As a result, her and her son’s lives were transformed.

Mother and son holding a baby goat
Shukla and her son are looking forward to the future

A gift of love from someone meant Shukla has not only changed her life but through her, the love and kindness spreads as she works to improve the lives of those around her. She shares the skills she learnt from the project with other women from her community, encouraging them to get involved too.

“If someone had told me five years ago where I’d be now, I would have told them to stop teasing me. I never had that confidence in myself. Now, in this new phase in my life, I want to empower the women in my community – and make the future even brighter.”


A powerful act of love

Perhaps those at the first Pentecost could sense the power of the gift they were receiving. The wind and fire do paint a dramatic picture. But when a supporter writes a gift the scene in contrast might seem unremarkable. Perhaps they are at their local solicitor’s office or making their Will over the phone from their home. However, a gift left in a Will is powerful.

These gifts really are gifts of love that reach out to our brothers and sisters around the world.

Find out about CAFOD’s free Will-writing service

A gift left by someone meant CAFOD could fund the project that Shukla received support from. An act of love that is still spreading across a community in Bangladesh.

Woman in Bangladesh
Shukla is helping empower women in her community

I see gifts in Wills as so special because they are an act of love we leave for the future. When someone includes a gift to CAFOD in their Will it has the power to act as a ripple, improving the lives of communities across generations. It has the power to change the world.

This Pentecost 30 Catholic organisations, including CAFOD, are celebrating Catholic Legacy Week. Together we are raising awareness of leaving a gift in your Will to a Catholic good cause.

You can also email Lily at or call her on 020 7095 5367.

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