“Talking The Talk” – Giving up swearing for Lent

Human rights activist and blogger Amy has already had to give up a lot this year. Now she’s decided to give up one more habit for Lent – swearing. She tells us how a broken down car and a serendipitous sermon helped strengthen her resolve to take on the #GiveItUpChallenge.

If I am honest I don’t normally give anything up for Lent.  A number of years back I heard a sermon about how you could try and take something up for Lent instead  giving something up, so that year I decided to pray in my car instead of listening to the radio.  I honestly had the most amazing 40 days and felt so close to God by the end of it.

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Giving up plastic for Lent

Julia is a CAFOD volunteer. She has recently been working with our Campaigns team so has decided to take on an environmental Lent Challenge. Here she tells us why giving up plastic will be so difficult.

Julia is taking on the CAFOD Lent Challenge
Julia is taking on the Give it up challenge by giving up Plastic

This lent I am challenging myself to give up buying single use plastic. You may have heard the term ‘single use plastic’ in the news recently. It means plastic that is used one time before being thrown away or put into the recycling bin.

Single use plastic is used in a lot of things for example straws, paper cups, water bottles, packaging, shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes, make up products, medicines and plenty of other items. I use these items every day.

Still not sure what to give up for Lent? Take the CAFOD Lent quiz for inspiration!

The lasting effect of Lent

Last February, I attended a retreat weekend where I was challenged on the impact I have on the planet. The discussion ranged from how much meat I consume to how our waste culture encourages us to throw away. Continue reading “Giving up plastic for Lent”

How to mark Family Fast Day in your parish this Lent

Margaret Finn is a CAFOD supporter and parishioner at the Holy Name of Mary church in Middlesbrough. Here, Margaret writes about how the parish prepares for Family Fast Day at Lent.

Margaret is a CAFOD parish volunteer in Middlesbrough
Margaret is a CAFOD parish volunteer in Middlesbrough

Supporting CAFOD’s work is very important to people in our parish. We are always aware of those less fortunate than ourselves. This is across the age range of parishioners – from nursery children to grandparents. Children at St Edward’s, the school next door to the parish where I used to teach, take part with assemblies and fundraising events, while members of our Justice & Peace group help to prepare in the parish ahead of Ash Wednesday.

There are various things we do to get ready for Family Fast Day.

1. Pin up poster and put announcement in newsletter

A Family Fast Day poster
A Family Fast Day poster

Firstly, we have to let people know that Family Fast Day is coming up. We try to put up a poster at the entrance to the church and a notice in the newsletter a few weeks earlier so that people will be thinking about Lent before the season arrives. It’s always eye-catching and reminds us of the difference we can make.

This Lent, donate to CAFOD’s Family Fast Day Appeal.

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Going vegan for Lent

Susy works in the Theology team at CAFOD. This Lent, inspired in part by Laudato Si’, she will be going vegan. She tells us more about her reasons for abstaining from animal products and what she’s going to miss the most.

Thirty years ago my brother showed me a video (yes, it was a video in those days!) of a factory farm and from that day on I have been vegetarian. Or, to be more accurate, pescatarian.

I decided that there was so much choice in terms of available food, that there was no need to eat meat. I didn’t find it hard to be honest and I do not miss meat at all. However, when I spent a year in Chile, I think I must have been one of only two vegetarians in the whole country and I was viewed as somewhat suspect!

Thirty years on, I am now preparing to go vegan for Lent and hoping that I will start getting into habits that may last a life-time.

Have you decided what to give up for Lent yet? Tell us on Twitter or take our Lent quiz for inspiration.

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Fasting: what it means to me

In preparation for Lent Family Fast Day, we asked Fr Nicholas Crowe some questions about Lent. He told us what fasting means to him and why fasting this Lent is a real opportunity for spiritual growth and love of neighbour.

What does fasting mean to you?

Let’s start by thinking about why fasting in a Christian sense is different from dieting. It is because Christian fasting comes from an act of faith. It is our faith that things can be different, that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are called to be a new creation.

So often our cravings and routines can become selfish and block out God and the needs of others. So we need Lent as a time to turn back to God, to make a special effort to let Jesus be the centre of our lives. I see Lent as an invitation to renew and deepen our conversion, a spiritual gym work out. However, in our Lenten gym, God’s grace lifts the weights and causes the real change in us. All we have to do is turn up.

Taking part in Family Fast Day is our way of turning up, of saying yes to God. Yes God, cause great change in me this Lent. Be bold enough to join the fast and let Jesus show you the injustice, the marginalised and the unloved that need you today.

Donate the money you save through fasting to our Family Fast Day appeal

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Your Harvest donations: progress in the Bolivian Altiplano

Your Harvest donations are a vital lifeline for people all over the world. Last Harvest we introduced you to a community in Bolivia and invited you to join them in their journey towards an abundant harvest. One year into the project, Nikki Evans, CAFOD’s Bolivia Programme Officer, revisits one of the families you have helped.

Your donation can sow an abundant harvest

I first met Rosa Mamani and her four small children in 2016. I was visiting families that had just joined CAFOD’s Hands On project in the highlands of Bolivia near Lake Titicaca.

Why are your donations needed?

Many of the poorest rural farmers live in this area known as the Altiplano. Nestled high in the Andes mountains at over 12,000 feet, this plateau is arid and the farmers live at the mercy of the unpredictable and challenging weather. Continue reading “Your Harvest donations: progress in the Bolivian Altiplano”

Meeting Edelmira ahead of Harvest Fast Day 2017

Tania works as Communications Officer in our Latin America Team.  Her role involves lots of opportunities to meet inspiring people like Edelmira, whose story of flourishing and achievement we are celebrating this Harvest Fast Day.

Donate to our Harvest Fast Day appeal

My first impressions of Edelmira when I met her in 2016, were of a friendly, welcoming woman, constantly busy. She was a little nervous of meeting me, a visitor from far away.  I was also nervous about visiting Edelmira.  CAFOD had sent me to interview her for our Connect2 El Salvador parish programme, and I was feeling the weight of responsibility!

Find out how your parish can join Connect2

Continue reading “Meeting Edelmira ahead of Harvest Fast Day 2017”

Brighten Up: Buzzing with fundraising ideas

Margaret Hodgson is a CAFOD school visitor and has been inspiring children to Brighten Up for Harvest Fast Day.

Find brighten Up resources for primary schools
St Bede’s are brightening up this Harvest Fast Day.

Are you planning to get involved with CAFOD’s Brighten Up event next week? St. Bede’s school in Darlington wanted to learn more about CAFOD’s work in El Salvador and invited me in to help them plan a Brighten Up fundraiser. It was the first time they had invited CAFOD into their school and so I was more than delighted to visit!

Book a CAFOD visitor for your school

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Speak at Mass this Harvest Fast Day

I’m Lizzie, I’ve just finished a placement at Just Youth in Salford as part of the Step into the Gap programme. Last Harvest I had a great experience speaking at Mass for Harvest Fast Day – I hope you will do the same this year!

During our training weekend for the Step into the Gap programme, we found out that we would have the chance to speak for CAFOD at Mass at both Harvest and Lent for Fast Day. Back in July this seemed a long time away, but it came around really quickly and before I knew it, it was time to organise our talks.

Preparing to speak at Mass

Although we were a bit nervous it’s actually really easy to prepare for speaking at Mass. The short talk is available on the website, along with lots of other great resources for Harvest. There are even resources specifically for young people planning to speak at Mass. If you’d like to meet up with other volunteers and local CAFOD staff in your area for you can go along to the Harvest briefings which are held in dioceses across England and Wales.

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Bringing water to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, water from Chiwashira DamSally Kitchener looks at how donations to CAFOD’s first match funded appeal, during Lent 2012, brought drinking water to a remote town in Zimbabwe.

I am woken by a gentle tapping sound. It’s 5:30am. I extract myself from the tangle of my mosquito net and shuffle to unlock my door. Outside is a bucket of steaming water. It’s a welcome sight.

It’s my second day in Zimbabwe and I’m staying in Nembudzia, a remote town in Gokwe North district. My room is basic but it has everything I need – a bed, a desk, and even an en-suite bathroom. Only, the sink and shower feel a little redundant, as there’s not a drop of water in the taps.

CAFOD’s progress on water Continue reading “Bringing water to Zimbabwe”