Gospel reflection: Excess baggage weighs us down

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus sends out his disciples to spread the Good News, telling them that they must take no possessions with them. Volunteer Trevor Stockton reflects on this gospel reading and how we are all called to live more simply.

Based on the gospel for Sunday 15 July – Mark 6: 7-13

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“He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff”

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Gospel reflection: Jesus is rejected in his home town

Every Friday we offer you a reflection on the Sunday gospel. This week’s reflection was written by Trevor Stockton, a CAFOD supporter from St Anthony of Padua parish, Wolverhampton.

Based on the gospel for Sunday 8 July – Mark 6:1-6

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“Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him…?”

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Campaigning is easy with prayer

Prayer is powerful and it underpins all that we do at CAFOD. Prayer can be a great way to inspire you to campaign too. We can show solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world in prayer, remembering that we are united in one world and one body of Christ. Susy, who works in our theology team shares with us her top 3 prayers for social change.

The World Can’t Wait

Read the prayer : The World can’t wait 

CAFOD MP correspondents discussing with their MP Emily Thornberry and Matt Rodda in Parliament

Those of us who work in overseas development agencies and hear stories regularly from our colleagues about the work our partners are doing, know that we have to act now. People the world over are going hungry, they are struggling for their land rights, they are dealing with natural disasters – we can’t wait a year or two to act.

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‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves’

Amy is a blogger that took up the challenge of giving up ‘Bad words’ over the Lent period, to help spread the word about our Lent appeal. Just after Easter, she told us how the challenge had humbled her and helped bring her closer to God.

The end of Lent has come and gone and it is time to reflect on what the last 40 days have truly been about.  This journey started for me because I felt like God was telling me that there was an area of my life that I needed to submit to Him.  He needed to refine it.  A verse that had a powerful impact on me was Luke 6 v 45. It had never occurred to me that bad language could reflect a poor state of your heart. It pained me to know that my heart might not be as it should be.

I can honestly say God has drawn me closer through this journey of Lent. Even during the moments when I have struggled with the challenge I have felt closer to Him.  What surprised me about the struggles of this challenge is that when they came along they appeared like the serpent with the apple.  They were covered in the ripe red skin of a juicy apple and I took a bite without hesitation. This lack of hesitation came from my own pride and sinfulness.

As we approach Pentecost, we pray that the Holy Spirit may work through us as we seek to transform the world. Prayers for Pentecost

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Pope Francis’s new letter to us all

The week before last Pope Francis issued his fifth major document since beginning his papacy. It is largely a sustained meditation on the Beatitudes and how they can be lived out here and now. It is called Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be glad); and its subtitle is A call to holiness in today’s world.  So what, according to Francis, does it mean to be holy? Susy, from our Theology team, highlights some key points.

According to Francis, if you are by nature timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, prone to put on a dreary face or swoon in a mystic rapture then you are heading in the wrong direction! Here are four ways of being holy that Francis advocates.  I think they will be particularly pertinent to you as a CAFOD supporter:

1. Live out your faith in a practical way

Pope Francis always stresses that we must live out our faith in a practical way (#109). This means, that in our lives and in our work, we are urged to labour “with integrity and skill in the service” of our brothers and sisters (#14).

Put your faith into action. Sign up to receive our monthly emails about how you can get involved in our latest campaigns.

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What Easter means to me

This Holy Week, Catherine Gorman from CAFOD’s Theology team reflects on what Easter means to her, and how hope can transform lives.

Easter is swiftly approaching. It is a time of joy, when hope and faith are renewed. The long waiting of Lent is almost over, and finally the time to celebrate will be here. The light of the risen Christ shines through all ages, breathing new life, bringing mercy and conquering darkness.

See our favourite Easter prayers

It is so easy to get caught up in ourselves, to feel like we have to do everything on our own. I know, for instance, that I am often unwilling to ask for help. I prefer struggle on, getting more and more frustrated and disheartened, than to burden anyone else with my difficulties.

Finally, I snap at whoever is nearest, and whichever friend or loved one is bearing the brunt of my rage says, “Why didn’t you ask? I can help you.” Just as I would, if the situation were reversed. I feel foolish for not having believed in the love that others have for me, for not counting myself worthy of their kindness.

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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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Gospel reflection: Stay awake

Every Friday, we offer you  a reflection on the Sunday gospel. This week’s reflection was written by Rachel McCarthy, who works in CAFOD’s Theology Programme.

Based on the gospel for Sunday 12 November – Matthew 25:1-13 “Stay awake.”

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It’s midnight. The wedding attendants have been waiting for a long time for the bridegroom. At last, he arrives. The five sensible ones are admitted to the feast, but the other five suddenly find they are unprepared. They scrabble around in a panic, and set out to find oil for their lamps.

After some time, the wedding attendants come back, knocking on the door and calling for the bridegroom to let them in. But it is too late. The doors are shut.

Like the five sensible ones who take oil with their lamps, we are called to prepare for the kingdom of heaven and to keep our gaze fixed on Christ. We must be prepared to show our love for Christ through our actions.

Download prayer resources for the World Day of the Poor

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Honour someone special by donating in their memory

Roisin Beirne, CAFOD’s Candlelight Fund Officer, shares a little about two special women who have been honoured by a donation to CAFOD in their memory.

Donate in memory or create a Candlelight Fund to honour a loved one
Roisin, Candlelight Funds Officer

As families go through the difficult task of organising a funeral, some find the strength to also think of their global family.

A collection in lieu of flowers is such a touching way to pay tribute to someone special while also ensuring a brighter future for those living in desperate need overseas.

Donate in memory of someone special

Since starting in CAFOD’s Legacy and Remembrance Team in April I have been so moved by the amazingly strong people who get in touch.

As a way of saying thank you, I’d like to share a little about two women who have been remembered in this way.

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