Lampedusa cross: We are all migrants

Lampedusa cross CAFOD pilgrimage
Starting the Lampedusa cross pilgrimage

Sarah Hagger-Holt works in CAFOD’s campaigns team.

Every migrant or refugee’s journey begins with ‘what if?’s.

What if I never make it? What if I’m turned back? What if I never see my home or my family again? What if where I’m going is worse than where I’ve come from?

Yet, it is not just other people who are migrants, travellers, makers of journeys. We all have our own significant journeys, and our own stories of displacement, change or transition.

Send your own message of hope to refugees

Last week, I spent the day with a group reflecting on Laudato Si’ and on our response. We began by sharing our own stories of journeys made and new turns taken.

Several people spoke of leaving home and family in their teens or early twenties to live and work overseas, of becoming adults in countries they knew little about, and dealing with situations for which they were totally unprepared. Continue reading “Lampedusa cross: We are all migrants”

Refugees: Equal in the eyes of God

Former detainee Michael, a member of Freed Voices, with partner Holly
Former detainee Michael, a member of Freed Voices, with partner Holly

CAFOD, CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) and JRS UK (Jesuit Refugee Service UK) all work to support refugees and migrants in different ways. Together, we are encouraging the Catholic community to act in welcome, respect and love during this Year of Mercy.

In this guest blog, Caroline Grogan from CSAN shares some of what CSAN and JRS are doing to speak out for refugees in the UK.

The issue of immigration detention is particularly important to CSAN which works with the Detention Forum, (a network of organisations working together to challenge the UK’s use of detention). Immigration detention is when someone who does not have the legal right to remain in the UK is detained, until a decision is reached about their eligibility to remain in the country or be deported.

Inspired by the values of Catholic Social Teaching, the two most fundamental principles for CSAN are Human Dignity and the Common Good. This means that we are all equal in the eyes of God. We share the world and therefore share the responsibility for protecting our brothers and sisters in detention.

Send a message of hope to refugees

Continue reading “Refugees: Equal in the eyes of God”

Refugees: Young people’s messages to Parliament

Tom HallsworthTom Hallsworth works with Animate Youth Ministries in St Helen’s in the Liverpool Archdiocese, leading retreat days with young people aged 11-25 to inspire them to live out the Gospel and social justice. He’s part of the CAFOD ambassador scheme, connecting CAFOD with youth centres across the country.  

I’ve been working hard to help young people to understand the refugee crisis, and see what we can do to help. I organised a session in my church where we started with an icebreaker on refugee statistics and also had interactive prayer stations to help people to reflect and think about refugees.

The young people found it really striking that more than half of refugees worldwide are under 18 years old. It got us thinking about what it would be like to be in their shoes. My friend told me she was shocked that so many refugees are young, are unaccompanied children, why can’t they sort it out? It’s such a huge problem, there are just so many.

Then we used CAFOD’s Lampedusa cross action cards to write our own messages of hope for refugees. I’ve collected hundreds of these messages, and the numbers are still growing.

Send your message of hope to refugees and migrants Continue reading “Refugees: Young people’s messages to Parliament”

Climate change campaign: Thank you

Sarah Hagger-Holt works in CAFOD’s campaigns team on the One Climate, One World campaign.

CAFOD campaigners at Paris climate talksLast month, I was part of something very special, a moment in history.

I was in Paris, joining hands with campaigners underneath the Eiffel Tower and praying outside the conference centre where a global climate deal was finally agreed.

At CAFOD, we know that faith groups, including Catholic campaigners, have a huge influence on politicians – including those from the 196 countries who agreed a deal to tackle climate change in December. Their dedication and tenacity often inspires and moves me.

It’s not often what they have done is publically acknowledged. But now it has been.

This letter from Christiana Figueres, who heads up the UN’s work on climate change, is addressed to you, and to everybody who took part in this campaign.

Read it, share it, print it out– this is for you. Thank you.

An open letter of gratitude to all

To those who walked, to those who prayed,
To those who sang, to those who cried,
To those who challenged, to those who supported,
To those who acted early,

To those who came with hope,
To those who came with facts,
To those who used the power of their influence,
To those who honored the public trust bestowed upon them,

To all those, the millions of people around the world
who laboured now and before,
so long and so hard, I say:
This is your success.

Individually for each of you, but more powerfully, collectively for all of us.

A critical milestone reached, a decisive turning point inscribed into history.

We have come together to address the most daunting of challenges. We have done so by respecting our differences and setting aside our enmity, by focusing on the present we share and the future we must build together.

As we celebrate this momentous step, may we remember that the journey ahead, although irreversible, will equally require our determination, our ingenuity, the best of our humanity and above all our community of purpose.

Together we can.

Christiana Figueres

Climate change: The Laudato Si’ challenge

Paul Kelly CAFOD supporter at laudato Si' dayPaul Kelly is a CAFOD supporter in the Lancaster diocese. He will be travelling to Paris in December 2015 as part of a supporter delegation at the time of the UN climate talks.

With the UN Summit on Climate Change due to start in Paris in a week’s time, it couldn’t have been better timing for a CAFOD study day on the Encyclical letter Laudato Si’.

Sign our petition to world leaders in response to Laudato Si’

As a CAFOD supporter, and member of the Lancaster Diocese Faith and Justice Commission Environment Group, I travelled from North-West England for the event, held on Saturday 7 November in Westminster Cathedral Hall.

Journey with us

The opening prayer litany set the tone: “If you are asking questions such as: What is the purpose of my life in this world? What is the goal of my work and all my efforts, then journey with us;” “If you think we were made for love and therefore that gestures of generosity, solidarity and care can well up within us, then journey with us.” Continue reading “Climate change: The Laudato Si’ challenge”

Climate campaign: Turn your talent and faith into action

Megan Cornwell is CAFOD’s UK News Officer working on the One Climate, One World campaign.

This summer, people of all faiths and none from across the country are knitting, stitching, sewing and speaking up, all for the love of our brothers and sisters overseas who are being driven deeper into poverty because of extreme weather like floods, droughts and typhoons.

Whether you’re a seasoned campaigner or just passionate about your faith and our world, Wednesday 17 June is our opportunity to meet our newly-elected MPs and speak up.

Join us on 17 June and Speak Up to your MP at Westminster

If you can’t make the event, you can still make bunting to show your MP what you love and could lose to climate change. Here, four supporters tell us how they’re turning their talent and faith into action for our One Climate, One World campaign.

Continue reading “Climate campaign: Turn your talent and faith into action”

One Climate, One World: No power over rain or sun

U Than Win and his family
U Than Win and his wife Daur San Mhwe holding their children Elizabeth (left) and Kissnow (right).

CAFOD writer Mark Chamberlain talks about meeting a village leader in Myanmar and how changes in climate are affecting his community.

Speak Up for communities affected by a changing climate. Join CAFOD at Westminster on Wednesday 17 June

There is a calmness about U Than Win that can’t be learned. I sat on the floor in his small home – even the jungle around us seemed to wait in silence – waiting for the rains, waiting for him to speak.

“The village is here – in my heart”

The slightly built 51-year-old was thinking – deliberating an answer before delivering a typically succinct, quiet truth. “I do things first for my community” – a pause to make sure I understood every word – “then my family. The village is here” he pointed gently to his chest, “in my heart.”

His wife was quick to tell me that her husband is always working – always tending to people’s needs. “When he does relax” she said, looking at me directly, “it’s for five minutes at the most, then someone will come to our home asking for his help.”

She smiled before continuing. “Last year I was in hospital. I knew he was worried about the village – he wanted to be with me, but his duty is to help them. I held his hand and told him to stay with me.” Continue reading “One Climate, One World: No power over rain or sun”

Climate campaign: Your guide to making bunting

Nuns make bunting for CAFOD climate campaignSarah works in CAFOD’s campaigns team.

As mum to two small girls, I’m used to spending my time cutting and sticking. But it’s not so often that this is part of my day job at CAFOD.

Yet, after a day spent reflecting on care for creation with two communities of Sisters and other campaigners, I was surrounded by glue and coloured paper, making bunting.

On Wednesday 17 June, I’ll be joining thousands of people at Parliament to call on our MPs for action on climate change, for the love of creation and for our neighbours.

Join us. Sign up for Speak Up For The Love Of on 17 June now

It’s not doom and gloom, but a day to celebrate our beautiful world and our desire to protect it. Which is where the bunting comes in.

Groups will bring home-made bunting to the event to show their MPs the reasons we care about climate change. Continue reading “Climate campaign: Your guide to making bunting”

One Climate One World: Why I marched for action on climate change

CAFOD's Sarah Croft joins climate march

Sarah Croft is CAFOD’s campaigns officer. She joined thousands of others in London on Saturday to campaign for action on climate change.

Find out how you can take action on climate change with CAFOD

I love the first really sunny day of the year. The kind of day when you can go out without a coat for the first time, feeling the heat on your skin and seeing spring flowers starting to poke their heads through the grass.

On Saturday I was delighted to see that this day had finally arrived! I admit, the first thing that popped into my mind wasn’t ‘This is the ideal day for a protest’. Instead, pictures of BBQs, picnics in the park, bike rides, and ice creams started to flash before my eyes. Continue reading “One Climate One World: Why I marched for action on climate change”

Lent 2015: Giving up is hard to do (especially when it comes to tea)

Giving up tea for CAFOD for Lent
Enjoying my last cup of tea until Easter

Sarah works in CAFOD’s campaigns team.

It’s been nearly two weeks since I starting cutting out tea for Lent, in a quest to raise money for CAFOD’s Lent appeal and gain support for our One Climate, One World campaign.

Progress so far

Money raised: £326.76  (you can still sponsor me!)

Petition signatures reported: 10 (you can still sign our climate petition!)

Cups of tea not drunk: approx 60

Lessons learnt from this challenge: 6 – and here they are….

Lesson one: Giving up is hard to do.

This challenge has renewed my respect for the all the ex-smokers, the non-drinkers and the vegetarians who have said goodbye to bacon butties for the sake of the planet. I know that by Easter I’ll have a steaming cup of tea in my hand again, but to give up something forever, wow, that takes commitment. Continue reading “Lent 2015: Giving up is hard to do (especially when it comes to tea)”