CAFOD’s fantastic volunteers achieve so much in parishes and the wider community. We are very grateful for the work they do inspiring people to pray, give and act in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world.
Many of our volunteers across England and Wales were inspired by their families’ examples of giving their time and gifts to make a better world. It’s wonderful to hear about their experiences from across the different dioceses, such as these inspiring stories from three of our volunteers about how they are enriching their parish communities.
Roxinne, 18, volunteers for CAFOD in her local parish – part of a vital network working together to get the stories and voices of people fighting injustice around the world out to the Catholic community.
She said, “When I was growing up, my parents always taught me to fight for justice and that, if you feel that something is unfair or wrong, question it constantly and do something about it if you can. My grandmother was one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. When she was retiring she said to me, a 6 year old then, ‘My love, in this world there’s a lot of hate and darkness. But there are also people with big hearts and lots of compassion.’
“By doing simple acts like handing out envelopes, delivering a short talk and displaying a poster, I know I am a piece in the jigsaw of alleviating poverty”Roxinne, parish volunteer
“That is why I volunteered for CAFOD in my parish. By doing simple acts like handing out envelopes, delivering a short talk and displaying a poster, I know I am a piece in the jigsaw of alleviating poverty. By encouraging my fellow parishioners, family, friends and students to support CAFOD’s campaigns, we are targeting the root causes of injustice.
“Having an enthusiastic CAFOD group in my parish of St Augustine in Milton Keynes makes supporting CAFOD’s work all the better as we can share and discuss ideas and share tasks too.”
Christine, 55, is a parish volunteer in Lancaster Diocese. Her daughter Daisy, 19, has just started as a CAFOD schools and communications volunteer in the Liverpool Archdiocese.
Christine told us about their family volunteering experience:
“My involvement stems from as far back as my time at school when we used to collect for the ‘good shepherd fund’ during Lent. I can still remember the impact that those stories of famine in Ethiopia had on me. Since then, I have always tried to help people who are suffering, in my own small way.
“In 2012 I organised a recycled fashion show with the youth of St Peter’s and St Joseph’s parishes in Lytham. It was a great success, and we had a lot of fun in the process. Gradually I became the parish CAFOD representative for St Peter’s church, Lytham.
“There are so many opportunities in CAFOD, whatever your talent is”Christine, parish volunteer
“My eldest daughter, Lucy, volunteered for a charity before. When Emily, my second daughter, volunteered with the CAFOD team in Liverpool, her work and passion inspired us all. Daisy, my youngest daughter, has always been involved in our madcap fundraising activities for CAFOD, so I was delighted that she chose to volunteer with CAFOD this year.
“Volunteering with CAFOD gives me the opportunity to contribute to change in the world and it feels good to know that my tiny offering helps make a difference to people’s lives. Pope Francis is a great source of motivation. I admire his passion for Faith in Action, as illustrated in Laudato Si’.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”St Mother Teresa
“It doesn’t matter how little or how big your contribution is, you can just see it makes a difference and that’s massive. We live in quite a vacuous society where a lot of it is all about me, and how I can be entertained, and if we can get the message over that we can help other people here and in other countries who are struggling, it gives you a massive buzz, a lot more say than a retail therapy session! We just need to shift the mindset.
“There’s so much you can do getting the kids involved, and it doesn’t have to be shaking a tin. With the CAFOD Fast Day walks, we have the whole parish involved, and they could just send in the steps that they have done on their own towards this, like when they’re walking the dog, and this all counts towards the total. We try to be inclusive of everyone.
“There are so many opportunities in CAFOD whatever your talent is. I would highly recommend joining – do it today!”
Emma first became involved with CAFOD when she was about nine years old.
“My parents always encouraged me to help people who have not been given the many blessings I have. CAFOD gives me a chance to do this. I came back to helping CAFOD through the water campaign a few years ago. I had been quite busy developing my career, and did not concentrate on charitable work, except for donating money.
“I followed the progress of the fundraising and felt the water project was an excellent example of changing lives of many people in a very simple way. Six months ago, I saw an advert in our parish newsletter asking for volunteers and I felt called to respond to it.
“After chatting with the coordinator of the Northampton Diocese I became the parish representative of the Northampton Cathedral. In this brief time I have found the parish very open to ideas for prayers and I am inspired to work harder to fulfil the dream of a happier, healthier, fairer world.”
Celebrate Volunteers’ Week with us
This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), we want to thank all our brilliant volunteers for the amazing difference you make.
Join us for online events including the CAFOD Volunteers’ mass and an exclusive film screening of ‘The Oratory’, which tells the story of an African-American Catholic priest, who, after struggling to find his purpose, inspired by the life of Don Bosco, ends up in Lagos, Nigeria, working with street children.
Meet the award-winning Nigerian film maker Obi Emelonye, who directed the film, and also meet his collaborator, Father Cyril Odai, a Salesian priest based in Ireland, who is executive producer and adviser of the film.