Year of Mercy, Doors of Mercy

On International Migrants Day, CAFOD’s Susy Brouard reflects on the Jubilee of Mercy and compassion for refugees.

Susy Brouard from CAFOD’s Theology Programme reflects on the new Doors of Mercy which are being opened around the world, and the ones which already exist…..

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Parishioners hold a silent vigil in solidarity with refugees

Last week Pope Francis launched the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy by pushing open the normally bricked-up bronze doors of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This was the very first Door of Mercy to be opened this Jubilee year, which began 8 December. The Holy Father asked Catholics that as they walk through it, they should take on the role of the Good Samaritan.

Throughout England and Wales, dioceses, schools and parishes have taken up the Pope’s initiative in diverse ways – my personal favourite is the Jubilee of Mercy double-decker bus which will tour parts of Greater Manchester and Lancaster come February next year. Inside, priests will be available for confession, a blessing or simply a chat.

Opening new Doors of Mercy is a fantastic idea which will open up spaces where people can find healing and reconciliation. However, last week, in conversation with a Religious sister who works with vulnerable women, she raised the fact that there already are, within and outside the Catholic Church, Doors of Mercy, which people walk through daily and find places of healing and sanctuary. How true, I thought!

Download our Jubilee of Mercy reflection

Opening Doors of Mercy

As a CAFOD member of staff I began to reflect on where the Doors of Mercy are in our work. I thought immediately of the work that our sister agencies in the Caritas network are doing with refugees. Surely any entrance to a building which provides a safe refuge for those who have nothing is a Door of Mercy? Surely any entrance to a building which provides sanitation facilities, psychosocial support and above all, a warm and genuine welcome, is a Door of Mercy? These Doors, as well as the new ones, need to be highlighted and celebrated.

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World Gifts: perfect Christmas presents!

Hannah Patterson is CAFOD’s World Gifts Co-ordinator

I have to confess that I started planning for Christmas in July. Not because I’m super-organised, or because I was hoping to bag some bargains, but because that’s when we started to create the World Gifts Christmas catalogue.

We start work on the World Gifts catalogue early because we want to present a really fantastic list of gifts for our supporters to choose from. At any time of year, researching examples of the impact of CAFOD’s work is inspiring, although it was more of a challenge to choose between snowflakes and stars in the summer!

A gift that stands out for me this year is Motivating music. Costing £20 for an instrument and lessons, the certificate that comes with this gift tells Marcos’ story. Marcos, 14, from Brazil, had to take on the responsibility of caring for his father while he was unwell, and then suffered feelings of guilt when his Dad passed away. Learning to play the cello has given him an outlet for his feelings and boosted his self-esteem. Marcos now wishes to become a professional musician.Marvellous music 2015

Motivating music is already on my gift list for my brother because he loves music. In fact, many of my loved ones will be receiving a certificate from me on Christmas morning!  I think that at this time of year, when it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of present-buying, food-planning and Christmas-jumper-wearing, World Gifts are a simple way to choose something more meaningful. Like many of you, I’ll also be showing my family and friends I love them this Christmas by making a special effort to spend time with them and I’ll be helping to bring other families together by buying the Water for a family gift for my Mum and Dad.

Hadas HailuHadas Hailu’s family in Ethiopia used to suffer a lot due to a shortage of clean water. Not only did they have to spend time fetching water from a pump far away, but the water wasn’t clean and caused diseases. Thanks to World Gift donations, CAFOD’s local partner were able to construct a borehole in their remote village. Now the whole family has clean, safe water to drink, and instead of fetching water they now have more time to spend together.

Having clean water to drink seems like such a basic need that it’s hard to imagine not trusting your water supply won’t make your family sick, or spending time away from them collecting heavy containers. The water gifts that are available through World Gifts are a great way to make a practical difference for families.

Perhaps I’m biased, but I think we have a wonderful range of World Gifts this year. Gifts like Water for a family are examples of the practical work that CAFOD’s partners carry out daily. Presents such as Motivating music bring hope to those living in poverty mean you can share this hope and joy with your own loved ones. I hope you enjoy reading through your catalogue or browsing our website as much as I’ve enjoyed putting together the World Gifts range.

To buy World Gifts or order a catalogue, visit our website.