Tania Dalton works in CAFOD’s Latin America Team. Inspired by Laudato Si’ she and a few colleagues are starting a small garden at the CAFOD Romero House office in London.
Mary and I have spent 3 lunchtimes shovelling compost in the CAFOD carpark, Janet has brought in tomato plants, Lucy has promised us a courgette, Tory donated some basil seeds and Al and Jamie have done some heavy lifting.
Why? In CAFOD we have been getting very excited about the One Climate, One World campaign. Our campaigns team have worked tirelessly on the mass lobby of parliament with many CAFOD supporters among the 9,000 crowd on 17 June, and now we have the new encyclical from Pope Francis – Laudato Si’, calling us to care for our common home.
There’s a lot of important big picture thinking, mobilising people and influencing policy makers (have you signed our petition?), but I just fancied getting my hands dirty, the smell in my nostrils of a freshly plucked tomato, and somewhere green and shady to sit and eat my sandwich. So we are making a garden on our office balcony in London. Continue reading “Tomatoes: a practical response to Laudato Si’”
Tony Sheen, Regional Manager for CAFOD, visited El Salvador on a Romero Trust Pilgrimage. Here he shares why Archbishop Oscar Romero inspires him every day.
I am delighted that the Church has beatified Oscar Romero. He is an inspirational Christian Martyr of my life time and an authentic voice of our Church having a real concern for the poor.
He was a true witness to Jesus’s teaching for us to speak out for justice in the beatitudes, when he said in Matthew 5:6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…and when people speak all types of criticisms of you on my account”
Romero spoke out about the injustices and killings in El Salvador during his time as Archbishop from 1977 to 1980. In doing so, Romero systematic undermined the rich and powerful and faced death threats to stop him speaking out.
Erasmo Valiente works with our partner Jesuit Development Service in El Salvador giving advice to farmers on how to keep crops healthy. In 2013 he visited Connect2 El Salvador parishes in England and was overwhelmed to discover that so many people in the UK have been inspired by the example of Archbishop Romero. His community in El Salvador is eagerly awaiting the beatification of Oscar Romero on 23 May when buses will take people from nearly every parish in the country to San Salvador and celebrations will be broadcast on television.
In El Salvador we refer to our martyr Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez as the voice of the voiceless. We call him this because always his primary concern was to speak out for the most excluded members of society, denouncing social injustice and military repression. His dedication to the poorest took the form of a pastoral conversion, and a spiritual commitment to lay down his life for the resurrection of our people.
His response to the death threats he received was, “If God accepts my life as sacrifice, my blood will be a seed of freedom”. His preaching was always full of humility and peace, and constant communication with God, which gave him the strength and wisdom to speak the truth freely and with dignity in defence of human life.
Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez knew that death was coming, but he chose not to escape the country; he stayed with his people, even after death. “As pastor, I am obliged by divine order to give my life for those I love, that is all Salvadorans, even those who will assassinate me. If they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran People”. Continue reading “Oscar Romero: The voice of the voiceless”
Fidel and Julia are farmers in Puentecitos, El Salvador. They are part of the CAFOD Connect2 programme which enables parishes to develop a relationship of solidarity with a community in a country where CAFOD works. In 2013 they visited Connect2:El Salvador parishes in England and Wales. Here they share how people in Puentecitos are preparing for the beatification of Mons. Romero on 23 May.
Our family and our community Puentecitos are happy and joyous at the news that our bishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez is soon to be beatified by the Pope and the Church. Our families here in Puentecitos and in our parish are coming together in prayer. Every day we say this beautiful prayer:
Oh, Jesus, eternal shepherd, you made Oscar Romero, Servant of God, a living example of faith and charity and you granted him the grace to die at the foot of the altar in a supreme act of love for you.
Grant us, if it is your will, the grace of beatification, help us to follow his example of love for your church, your word and the Eucharist, and may we love you in the poor and needy. We ask this through the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Peace.
Grant me please the favour I ask you, through the intercession of our Servant of God.
CAFOD is privileged to have many wonderful supporters. One supporter, ‘Marmalady’ Gloria Irons from Norwich, has raised over £10,000 for us with her marvellous homemade marmalade – and her wonderful work has even been written about in the national press.
Gloria’s marmalade success “started by accident”. She said, “I was going to a fete and I had forgotten to bake anything. I grabbed some jars of marmalade I had made and they sold like hot cakes.”
“Connect2Brazil wishes you all a Merry Christmas! We are very happy with the Christmas cards we received from children and parishes England & Wales, and with the exchange of experiences. The children in Divinéia were really happy with your messages.” Zeza, Divinéia community leader and Connect2: Brazil narrator.
“Connect2Brazil will continue in our hearts forever. This exchange between local communities, this sharing and linking will be with us always. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for all in England and Wales, and especially for the children!” Terezinha, Connect2: Brazil, Divinéia community.
Left: Children in Divinéia with cards from the Connect2: Brazil parishes.
Right: Zeza and Terezinha with Christmas cards.
If your parish would like to join Connect2, you can sign up here.