Lent Hope Journal: Reflecting on my Lent journey

Ellie Wilcock head shot
Ellie

Ellie is CAFOD’s PR Officer. This Lent, she has doubled her cycling to work and will give what she saves on travel to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal. Today, her personal Lent journal focuses on her Lent journey.

Lent is one of my favourite times of year. It’s a time for reflection and living simply, and marks the ever-welcome transition between winter and spring. Ash Wednesday is often cold and wet, but by the time Easter Sunday arrives, the nights are getting longer, the daffodils are in full bloom and my winter clothes have been packed away.

Lent is also one of the most important periods in the CAFOD calendar. Our fantastic supporters – school and youth groups, parishes and individuals – pull out all the stops to come up with unique fundraising ideas to raise as much money as possible for our Lent Appeal. Romero House – CAFOD’s London office – is a hive of activity and updates on how the appeal is going are bound to put you in high spirits.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal

Many of my colleagues have embarked on Lent challenges this year – either doubling something up or cutting something out: Ffion and Laura have doubled their baking, keeping me stocked in sweet treats and raising funds in the process; Mariacristina’s delicious Neapolitan dishes have been the talk of the town during lunchtimes; and Mark has cut out eggs, dairy, and honey (he’s a vegetarian so it’s no mean feat!). Continue reading “Lent Hope Journal: Reflecting on my Lent journey”

Supporting my CAFOD young climate bloggers

Bernie with the All Saints young climate bloggers.
Bernie (second from right) with the All Saints young climate bloggers.

Bernie Healy is Chaplaincy Coordinator for All Saints Catholic High School. She is accompanying a group of CAFOD young climate bloggers. Here she talks about the joys and challenges of enabling her group of young people to campaign on climate and explains why the young climate bloggers training week end was like stepping back to her childhood!

My name is Bernie and I am a Chaplaincy Coordinator for a secondary school ‘up North’! I’ve been in this role for the last seven or eight years, time goes so fast it could be even longer.

In September of last year I introduced CAFOD’s One Climate, One World campaign to the school. I asked every form to think of something that would be affected by the climate if we don’t act now.  The results were fantastic and we created a heart to display of all the things we love and don’t want to lose.

Download free One Climate, One World campaign resources for teachers, chaplains and youth leaders to inspire young people. Continue reading “Supporting my CAFOD young climate bloggers”

Step into the Gap: Three weeks on from Flame 2!

Chris, Leila and Mary on stage at Flame 2.
Chris, Leila and Mary on stage at Flame 2.

Three weeks after Flame 2, CAFOD Step into the Gap volunteers, Leila, Chris and Mary reflect on what it meant to speak on stage in front of 8,000 people at the SSE Arena, Wembley.  

Chris says: “I don’t often lie. But when asked ‘Are you ok Chris?’ Before going on stage I told a big fat whopper. I said ‘Yeah, fine’, as coolly as possible. Inside I was secretly in turmoil with questions like ‘What if you burp into the microphone in front of 8,000 people?’ popping into my head. (In my defence, I thought saying I was nervous would have only made us all more nervous.) But once on stage, I relaxed and, surprisingly, enjoyed it.

Watch Chris, Mary and Leila on stage at Flame:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-mUC-s5bHk?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

What really touched me was the response from people after. Young people were saying to me things like ‘Wow, I would love to do something like that. How can I apply?’ It made me realise what we said on stage really affected people. We made a difference.” Continue reading “Step into the Gap: Three weeks on from Flame 2!”

Flame2: Expressing our faith this Lent

Nathaniel and Remi are CAFOD young leaders and students at St Joseph’s College, Reading. They tell us about their experience at Flame2.

Nathaniel and Remi with other CAFOD young leaders at Flame2
Nathaniel and Remi with other CAFOD young leaders at Flame2

As we progress through the season of Lent, it is important that as Catholics we take the time to reflect on how we can contribute to our community.

The CYMFed Flame2 event at Wembley Arena earlier this month was an opportunity to reflect along with thousands of other young Catholics. You could feel the presence of God in the hearts and minds of everyone as we gathered to kindle the flame of Christ.

Aged 11-18 and want to express your faith?

As we took to our seats, the event roared into life with uplifting and exciting music by liturgical dancers and double-Grammy award winning songwriter Matt Redman. Thousands of pinpoints of light from the mobile phones of the audience shone around the arena, as everyone joined together in musical worship.

Lighting the flames of our faith

CAFOD had prepared a series of lunchtime activities for us as young leaders to use to engage and inform people. During the balloon challenge, participants were asked to race each other to inflate the balloons the fastest, not knowing that one of the balloons had a hole pierced through it. The balloon with the hole symbolised how not all of us have equal opportunities in life, because many people are born into areas which are disadvantaged by the climate, resources or political systems. CAFOD young leaders also contributed to getting #Flame2 trending on Twitter, by sharing photos of activities and of friends wearing the One Climate, One World heart costume. Continue reading “Flame2: Expressing our faith this Lent”

Lent 2015: The one thousand pound tea challenge

1kg of tea

Sarah works in CAFOD’s Campaigns team.

It’s five weeks now since I cut out drinking tea for Lent, in order to raise money for CAFOD’s Lent appeal and generate support for our One Climate, One World campaign to tackle climate change.

Progress so far:

Money raised: £496.10 (doubled by match funding from the UK government, to make £992.20)

Cups of tea not drunk: About 185

One Climate, One World petition signatures: At least 20

Days to go: 9

My fundraising has been going better, much better, than expected, which almost makes up for the caffeine withdrawal. I just need £3.90 more to raise a total of £1,000 towards CAFOD’s work. Sponsor me now

£1,000: that’s a lot of money. I ask my family what they’d do with £1,000. “I’d get i pads,” says my older daughter without missing a beat. Continue reading “Lent 2015: The one thousand pound tea challenge”

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.

Add your voice – email party leaders calling for action on climate change

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”