Lent 2015: Pray and Fast for the Climate

Fast and Pray for the ClimateLent is traditionally a time of fasting and prayer, to give thanks for what we have and remember those who have less.

Donate to CAFOD this Lent and every £1 you give will be matched by the UK government, up to £5 million

Barbara Kentish (pictured centre) is the Justice and Peace worker for Westminster diocese and a CAFOD supporter. She explains here why she’s extended the practice of fasting to the first of every month, and why fasting and prayer is gaining momentum with people of all faiths as a way to highlight the need for urgent global action on climate change.

I have worked all my life for inclusion of one kind or another: race, rich and poor, gender and culture. Climate change challenges all of us to see ourselves in relation to the whole human family and to deepen our solidarity in order to address our common future.

It was my sister who first got me involved in climate change campaigning. She is an eco-theologian with a deep expertise on drought in Rajasthan. But I’ve also been influenced by close friends who have been climate advocates for decades.

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Why fast and pray?

The idea of praying and fasting for the climate came from Yeb Sano, Filipino leader of his country’s delegation to the Warsaw Climate talks in 2013.

He made an impassioned speech about the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan in his country and pledged to fast for the climate until an effective international solution had been reached. He will also be walking from Rome to Paris in December, with a copy of the Pope’s forthcoming encyclical, in the lead up to the COP 21 climate change talks in Paris.  Continue reading “Lent 2015: Pray and Fast for the Climate”

Lent 2015: Katharine cuts out all drinks except water

Youth leader, Katharine
Youth leader, Katharine

Katharine O’Brien is the Catechetical and Youth Co-ordinator at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Wanstead. Katharine supports the work of CAFOD in her parish and the Diocese of Brentwood. Here she tells us how she is getting on with her Lenten challenge of cutting out all drinks except water.

Announcing my challenge

When thinking about what to cut out for Lent, I normally go for one of three things – chocolate, ice cream or fizzy drinks. Imagine then the surprise of my friends and family when I announced I was giving up all drinks except water from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.

You would be forgiven for thinking I had gone mad (in fact, this announcement during school assemblies has either resulted in a sharp intake of breath or laughter) but my plan was never to think of the most bizarre Lenten promise. I was inspired by a friend from sixth form, who, along with her boyfriend, gave up drinking anything but tap water for an entire year to raise money for Water Aid. I knew that was a phenomenal achievement (and something I just couldn’t live up to) but I realised I could follow her example during Lent and, at the same time, raise money for CAFOD through their Cut it Out campaign.

Donate to CAFOD this Lent and every £1 you give will be matched by the UK government, up to £5 million.  Continue reading “Lent 2015: Katharine cuts out all drinks except water”

World Water Day: hope from hot springs

Hot springs - Simoi collecting water22 March is World Water Day. Thanks to your support, we have helped thousands of people around the world to have access to clean, safe water. Donate to our Lent Appeal today and the UK Government will match what you give, £1 for £1, enabling us to reach more of the world’s poorest communities.

If you walk up the slope at the edge of Simoi Masiodo’s tiny village, you’re confronted by a startling sight: thick plumes of steam spurt up from the barren ground. Today, thanks to your support, we’re using this steam to transform people’s lives.

On the edge of Kenya’s Rift Valley, hundreds of steam jets emerge from volcanic hot springs, hidden deep beneath the surface. In some places, these remarkable natural phenomena are tourist attractions. But Simoi’s village – a small cluster of mud huts surrounded by scrubland – is a long way off the tourist trail.

The village is extremely remote, and it’s hard to overstate how difficult life used to be for Simoi. For ten years, this was her daily routine: she would leave her village at four in the morning, along with the rest of her family and all their animals. They would trek through thick forest, taking care to avoid hyenas and buffaloes. Finally, at around midday, they would reach the nearest stream, where they would fetch water. Then they would turn around and set off home again. Continue reading “World Water Day: hope from hot springs”

Lent Hope Journal: International Day of Happiness

Ellie Wilcock head shot
Ellie

Ellie Wilcock is CAFOD’s PR Officer. Today, her personal Lent journal focuses on International day of Happiness.

Visit CAFOD’s Lent Calendar 

I’m a bit of a pessimist. A ‘glass half-empty’ kind of girl. I often expect the worst, and am frequently chasing whatever I think will make me happy. For example, “I’ll be really happy when the summer arrives and winter’s over” and then, “I hate the city in the summer, I can’t wait for it to be over so that I can wrap up warm and celebrate Christmas”. Always chasing. Waiting to reach the other side where the grass will undoubtedly be greener.

Nana
Nana

My colleague Nana has the most beautiful smile. When I arrive at the office in the morning, one look from her can lift my spirits no end. Nana’s an optimist. A ‘glass half-full’ kind of girl. I’ve been trying to reflect more during Lent and when I decided to write a blog on International day of Happiness as part of my Hope Journal, I asked Nana to describe what happiness means to her and how she maintains her sunny disposition.

Continue reading “Lent Hope Journal: International Day of Happiness”

Neapolitan cooking to support CAFOD Lent Appeal

Mariacristina Lubrano works in the Digital team at CAFOD. She is a proud Neapolitan who is writing a cook book of recipes that she has learned from her grannies and mum since she was 13 years old. In her first ever attempt at fundraising for CAFOD, she has doubled her cooking for Lent and will give what she raises from selling her goodies to CAFOD Lent Appeal.

CAFOD Lent fundraising
Mariacristina, on the left, shares her Baba Rustico with her colleague Susan.

Making lunch for my colleagues: my Lent promise!

When I look back at the day I committed to my Lenten promise, I’m not sure what I was thinking…wait, I actually do! Because this year the UK government is matching every pound raised in support of our Lent Appeal, after some thought, I told my colleagues that I would double the amount of Neapolitan food from the recipe book I am writing and share it with them all to fundraise towards our Appeal.

I was so excited to know that my colleagues would taste some of the family recipes I grew up with and I was taught by my grannies and mum. But more importantly the idea of having double the impact on the lives of people like Martin and Kyin Nu and their communities in Myanmar meant the world to me and got me even more motivated towards my fundraising target. Continue reading “Neapolitan cooking to support CAFOD Lent Appeal”

Challenge indifference this Lent

Father Augusto Zampini Davies is a RC priest, Moral Theologian and theological advisor to CAFOD. In the first in a series of blogs reflecting on love of creation, he explains how we can confront the ‘globalisation of indifference’ this Lent.

Neighbours in Kenya

Do you sometimes feel that you are not as joyful as you should be?  It happens to me quite often. I remember being embarrassed about my indifference in a visit to Zimbabwe with CAFOD.  The people I met there face many challenges. Yet, when they gather together for Mass in a Church, or discuss a problem as a community under a Baobab tree, they discover a joy that is out of this earth. Or is it?

In his latest document, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of The Gospel) (2014), Pope Francis has exhorted all Catholics to renew the beauty of life. The inspiring Good News of Jesus Christ should set our spirits on fire, transforming our beings and enabling us to reveal the Kingdom of God.

Reflect on the beauty of creation with our climate reflections

Why are we so indifferent?

If the Joy of the Gospel transforms us, both personally and socially, why are so many Christians not being attentive to the cry of the poor –as we should as be as good disciples of Christ?  Why do we tend to defend and sustain an arguably damaging economic model of growth that, although it brings wealth to some, it rules out millions of people?  Why are we so indifferent?

Continue reading “Challenge indifference this Lent”

Lent 2015: half way reflections on our Lent challenges

Ffion baking
Ffion starting her Lent baking challenge

Having passed the half way point in Lent 2015 earlier this week, our Web Editor Ffion Dean updates us on how she and other CAFOD staff are coping with their Lent challenges.

When I realised we were only half way through Lent my heart sank a little. It feels like ages since the beginning of Lent. Does that mean it will feel like a long time until Easter for me and my colleagues who have taken on Lent challenges? I’ve heard office rumours of a few Lent set-backs but everyone is putting a lot of time, thought and effort into their challenges.

Watch our first Lenten journey video to find out what some CAFOD staff have been cutting out and doubling up this Lent:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4yBjrQCjxs&w=560&h=315]

Burned cakes and new inventions

I’ve been doubling my baking to raise money for the CAFOD Lent Appeal. I was a bit nervous and pressed for time in my first week so I made something simple – a Lemon Drizzle Cake. It came out well and all twelve slices were sold for a pound each by mid-afternoon the following day. Continue reading “Lent 2015: half way reflections on our Lent challenges”

My life in Aleppo – A mother’s story

Mariana works for a CAFOD partner in Syria, providing life-saving food and emergency supplies to people who continue to be torn apart by the four year conflict. Read her story.

Fear and worry are my constant companions, never leaving my side when I’m at home or when I go to work. This is because of the continuous deadly shelling. You never get use to that sound, its power and then the haunting silence afterwards, followed by the cries of the injured.

CAFOD Syrian mother
Mariana

About the author: Mariana works for a CAFOD partner in Syria, providing life-saving food and emergency supplies to people who continue to be torn apart by the four year conflict.

Two years ago I was sitting on our balcony with my daughter, singing many songs, when suddenly we were rocked by a powerful explosion. We froze. I watched my daughter’s face grow paler and paler, and then we heard the screams of a woman. The shell had landed on the pushchair of her two-year-old daughter, and her husband’s leg had been blown off.

So when I go to work, I ask myself, “Will I reach my job safely today?”

I’m 37 years old. I married in 2010 in Aleppo, and have three children, two daughters and a baby son. In 2012 my husband lost his job – the factory where he was working was destroyed in the fighting. So now I am the breadwinner for my family, employed as an aid worker, with one of CAFOD’s partners in Syria.

Please keep supporting CAFOD’s long-term work and sign up to our direct debit for our Lent appeal. Your first three months will be matched by the UK government.
Continue reading “My life in Aleppo – A mother’s story”

Syria crisis: what’s it like to live without light?

Nick Harrop - CAFOD World News Officer
Nick Harrop


Four years since the start of the Syria crisis, Nick Harrop, CAFOD’s World News Officer, looks at what life is like for those living in Syria.

“I am worried for my children,” says a mother who fled to Lebanon. “They need to get an education. But I don’t feel safe to go home. Sadly I feel there is no future for my children in Syria now.”

“For four years, we have been living in the depths of the cold in a bloody war,” says a CAFOD partner delivering aid in Syria. “War has left us without any way to defend ourselves against the cold. We have no electricity most of the time, no fuel and no gas. We have no way to stay warm apart from putting on many layers of clothes, which don’t help so much when it’s minus eight degrees.”

Support those in Syria

“We used to have a home and a settled life,” says a father who has fled to a refugee camp in Jordan. “Our children went to school each day. But now…” – he shakes his head – “there is nothing left.”

How the crisis started

It is four years since a small group of demonstrators staged a protest against the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. Within days, the protests spread, and several people were killed. It was a serious political crisis, and a significant moment in the so-called Arab Spring, but few would have imagined that it would turn into the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the twenty-first century. Continue reading “Syria crisis: what’s it like to live without light?”

Young climate bloggers: Our Lent Cut it Out! challenge

St Robert's young climate bloggers
St Robert’s young climate bloggers

A CAFOD young climate blogger from St Robert’s tell us why giving up chocolate for Lent is helping tackle climate change and gives some hints and tips on how you can Cut it Out! too.

What are you cutting out this Lent? What difference will it make to stop climate change? This year, CAFOD are organising a Cut it Out! challenge to enforce their climate change campaign. For every pound they raise, the government are going to match it, up to £5 million, so it is a great opportunity to raise money for our sisters and brothers overseas.

Watch Martin’s film to see how CAFOD’s work supports those most vulnerable to a changing climate.

Usually in Lent I promise myself to give up chocolate or sweets and then it gets to the second week and I completely give up! But this year, I have a cause to work for and so do you. Continue reading “Young climate bloggers: Our Lent Cut it Out! challenge”