Fast Day: Three simple soups to share from our families

CAFOD Writer Mark Chamberlain collects three recipes from his colleagues to share with you in case you need inspiration for your Friday fast. Thank you to everyone involved!

Simple soups are all the rage here at CAFOD this Lent. I sat down with a colleague on Monday and we each shared some. If food was music, his was a clever symphony of kale and spinach. Mine was a panicked free-jazz improvisation on the theme of black beans and veg.

In advance of our fast on Friday together, here are three recipes from my wonderful colleagues’ families, just in case you needed inspiration.

Share a simple Fast Day soup lunch and donate what you save Continue reading “Fast Day: Three simple soups to share from our families”

I’m dreaming of a livesimply Christmas…

Livesimply sign at Our Lady and St Edward's church, Lancaster diocese
Livesimply sign at Our Lady and St Edward’s church, Lancaster diocese

This year, CAFOD supporter Stephen Garsed is encouraging fellow parishioners at Our Lady and St Edward’s parish in Preston, to think about living simply and loving abundantly this Christmas. Here are his top six suggestions…

The word we hear so often in the weeks before Christmas is ‘tradition’. It is particularly promoted by the glossy magazines who like to sell us the concept of ‘the perfect Christmas’.

But do we want Christmas to be about things or about family? As the TV adverts encourage us to spend more, my mind turns to thinking of ways we can celebrate Christmas in a simple, more environmentally-friendly and loving way. Continue reading “I’m dreaming of a livesimply Christmas…”

Seven reasons to remain hopeful on climate change

Sarah Hagger-Holt works in CAFOD’s campaigns team. She’s determined not to give up hope that together we can build a better world – here’s her seven reasons why.

There’s no disguising the fact that we face huge challenges in tackling climate change – but if we don’t recognise how far we’ve come, we won’t have the energy we need for upcoming battles.

So, if you are tempted to give up hope, read on for seven reasons to stay cheerful.

  1. We can overcome our differences. This week, the UK joined 110 other countries who have ratified the Paris Agreement for cutting carbon emissions and tackling climate change. Something worth celebrating!

CAFOD campaigners celebrate UK ratitication of Paris climate change agreement

Continue reading “Seven reasons to remain hopeful on climate change”

Refugee march: Bravery, compassion and hope

Chris Bird was a volunteer at Youth Ministry Team in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle as part of the Step into the Gap programme. Here he reflects on his first experience of campaigning and marching with CAFOD to show his support for welcoming refugees.

Chris Bird (far left) and friends march in London in solidarity with refugees.
Chris Bird (far left) and friends march in London in solidarity with refugees.

As our group of CAFOD representatives walked around the corner of what seemed to be just another generic grey building in London, in front of us opened up a flood of people and noise.

Thousands of people marching, chanting, singing, playing drums and holding placards. The atmosphere of humdrum London had changed into an energized, passionate movement.

Send your message of hope for refugees

What surprised me most was the diversity in the crowd, our group of mixed-aged CAFOD supporters with placards, immediately dispersed into the plethora of people of different backgrounds, age, race, class, faith and no faith. Yet all these people were here for one reason, to be part of a voice standing in solidarity welcoming refugees. It was quite something to behold. Continue reading “Refugee march: Bravery, compassion and hope”

Our pilgrimage for refugees at school

Clare Grimes is a CAFOD schools volunteer working with children in the Hallam diocese. Over the last few months Clare has been running the Year of Mercy pilgrimage with children, and has been encouraging schools to take part in the refugee action.

‘I was moved by the child who shared that his hope was to see the world at peace with no more wars.‘

Friday 17 June was a nice sunny day and I felt very happy to be visiting St Thomas More school in Sheffield to hold a ‘Welcome the stranger’ refugee workshop with a Year 6 class.  Alex and Rose, two other volunteers for CAFOD were also coming to help.  I had led this workshop with other schools and had excellent response and participation, so I was really looking forward to  another opportunity. The children entered the hall very quietly and looked happy and expectant.

Join us on the march for refugees on Saturday

pilgrimage-2
Children have been learning about the refugee crisis in class with CAFOD volunteers

We began with a presentation of various pictures of refugees and shared the facts and figures. The children answered questions intelligently and eagerly.  When asked about their hopes and dreams they were forthcoming and shared their aspirations to be actresses, doctors, teachers, just to get married, Olympic athletes, and footballers of note.

I was moved by the child who shared that his hope was to see the world at peace with no more wars.

We then showed the film/video of the refugee children and their hopes and dreams.

Watch this film about refugee children’s dreams

Continue reading “Our pilgrimage for refugees at school”

Refugee Week: Five ways your parish can help

Writing messages of hope
Some parishes have responded by writing messages of hope for refugees

By Daniel Hale, CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns

This week we heard that there are a record 65 million people displaced around the world. The European crisis is mirrored across the planet: in Colombia, in Central America, in the Middle East and many more places, including many of the countries where CAFOD works.

Fleeing war, poverty and persecution, people are moving in search of peace and prosperity – a better life for their families. A few find their way to the UK. There are likely to be refugees living in your parish.

It can seem like these global issues are far beyond what we as individuals and families can do to help. But in this Year of Mercy, we are reminded that we should welcome the stranger. We’ve already been moved and encouraged by the number of schools, parishes and individuals who are showing solidarity with refugees.

There are countless ways to help. These are five ideas to get you started. What could you do, starting this week, to welcome the stranger? Continue reading “Refugee Week: Five ways your parish can help”

One Climate, One World: CAFOD speaker from Zimbabwe tours England and Wales

CAFOD partners provide clean water in Zimbabwe using solar energy
Solar energy helps provide clean water in Zimbabwe

In July, Takura Gwatinyanya, from CAFOD partner Caritas Harare, will be travelling across England and Wales to share his passion for tackling poverty and to show how your support is making a difference in Zimbabwe.

Meet Takura and discover more about CAFOD’s climate and energy campaign at a series of special events, starting in London on Wednesday 6 July.

Book your place now >

We caught up with Takura to ask his about his family, his work and what keeps him motivated.

Tell us a little bit about your family.

I am married to Rutendo Avriel, and we have one five-year-old son.

You’re an expert in water and sanitation. What makes you passionate about this area?

My experience in sanitation and humanitarian work has shown me that access to water and sanitation is a fundamental human right. It bring human dignity, with immediate and evidenced results. The need for decent water and sanitation cuts across all ages and all backgrounds, it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor.

Pumps run on solar power are helping people in the communities where I work to access clean water and are reducing the time it takes people to collect water.

Continue reading “One Climate, One World: CAFOD speaker from Zimbabwe tours England and Wales”

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”