On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Linda Jones from our Theology team reflects on the different qualities of Our Lady, and how she can inspire us to have the strength and courage to act.
A couple of months ago, when I was walking along the Pointe du Raz cliffs in Brittany, I came across a beautiful statue of Our Lady. Here she is known as Our Lady of the Shipwrecked. She looks compassionately on a man reaching towards her in seeming despair.
As I walked on, I thought about the different ways we see Mary. I wondered about the many different titles that have been bestowed on her – Star of the Sea, Queen of Creation, Blessed Mother, and more. What qualities are we focusing on in each of them? There are so many aspects of her that inspire us at different times in our lives.
Joy Wanless is a volunteer with CAFOD Salford. She shares about what inspired her to become a prayer-writing volunteer. Find out how you can join her.
Me, write a reflection, write prayers? Not I! I was used to reciting traditional prayers and following liturgies prepared by others. Belonging to the Spirituality Team in Salford diocese changed all that. As I became more interested in following CAFOD stories, learning about the treacherous difficulties of life in many parts of the world and the generosity of CAFOD volunteers, I wanted to fuel their passion by enmeshing the prayer with the stories.
A very moving moment from a story which touched me greatly was at a Water Pilgrimage we planned around the diocese, travelling between the churches. As part of the prayer we gave out pieces of rope and invited people to tie them tightly round their waists. This was inspired by the story of Ayapan who ties string round her waist and drinks hot water to cope with hunger.
Based on the Gospel for Sunday 22 October – Matthew 22:15-21 “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God”
The Religious authorities are determined to undermine Jesus’ authority and once again Jesus manages to undermine their authority instead.
Clearly, the authorities do not stand apart from the Roman occupation, since they readily seem to be able to produce a coin with Caesar’s head on it. It is significant that Jesus is unable to produce a coin himself since he is homeless, dependent on the goodness, generosity and hospitality of others.
Jesus affirms the need to fulfil our civic duties, but even more so – as creatures who are bearers of God’s image – we are called to go beyond the law showing love, mercy and justice to others and to all of creation. This love is made manifest not in a passive desire to avoid doing wrong, but in an active determination to work for the flourishing of all.
Dear Lord, help us to fulfil our civic duties towards one another and towards the common good. Help us to remember that every person is made in your image, and every part of creation reflects your glory. Inspire us to use our civil rights to advocate for the flourishing of all peoples and all creation. Amen.
CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye has returned from Ethiopia where 10 million people currently face extreme hunger. She visited CAFOD’s partners in the northeast of the country to see how they are trying to tackle the devastating effects of the worst drought the country has seen in 30 years.
It’s time to shout about what is happening to the people of Ethiopia. The crisis they face right now may not have featured in much of our press, but lives depend on us making a noise about it now.
The drought, which has left 10 million hungry and 1.5 million young children, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in need of food supplements, has been caused by an El Niño weather pattern. The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation warned last November that the current El Niño is the strongest in more than 15 years and will cause severe droughts and devastating flooding throughout the tropics and sub-tropical zones of the planet. Continue reading “Ethiopia Food Crisis: Drought seeps into every part of people’s lives”
CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye has returned from Ethiopia where ten million people currently face extreme hunger. She visited CAFOD’s partners in the northeast of the country to see how they are trying to tackle the devastating effects of the worst drought the country has seen in 30 years.
It is truly shocking to hear a mother talk about her children going hungry, to say that she can’t remember the last time she was able to feed her children three meals a day.
Last month, I was in Ethiopia’s north eastern region, where I met mothers who told me that they, along with millions of others, are facing severe hunger because of food shortages brought on by drought.
Denise is Diocesan Manager in Brentwood. She visited El Salvador in 2004 for the 15th Anniversary of the Martyrs of El Salvador. To mark the beatification of Blessed Oscar Romero, she tells us how his legacy lives on in the people of El Salvador.
When I first knew I would be visiting El Salvador I read a few books about the country – most recalling the conflict and the work of Romero and the Jesuit priests. I felt I was concentrating on the past and not finding out about the country now. It soon became clear that the conflict and Romero is still so entwined in daily life, that you couldn’t split the past from the present or the future.
Tony Sheen, Regional Manager for CAFOD, visited El Salvador on a Romero Trust Pilgrimage. Here he shares why Archbishop Oscar Romero inspires him every day.
I am delighted that the Church has beatified Oscar Romero. He is an inspirational Christian Martyr of my life time and an authentic voice of our Church having a real concern for the poor.
He was a true witness to Jesus’s teaching for us to speak out for justice in the beatitudes, when he said in Matthew 5:6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…and when people speak all types of criticisms of you on my account”
Romero spoke out about the injustices and killings in El Salvador during his time as Archbishop from 1977 to 1980. In doing so, Romero systematic undermined the rich and powerful and faced death threats to stop him speaking out.
Father Rob Esdaile is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes in Surrey. He visited El Salvador in 1999 and shares his reflections on what Blessed Oscar Romero can teach us today.
I had the privilege of going to El Salvador early in 1999 in the company of Father John Medcalf, a fellow diocesan priest (who had himself worked in both El Salvador and Nicaragua). John had been invited to observe the presidential elections and thought it would do me good to go along.
Even 19 years after the murder of El Monseñor and 7 years after the end of El Salvador’s Civil War, the wounds caused by the violence he denounced lay just below the surface. My visit was punctuated by encounters with the bereaved, with witnesses to atrocity, and with places stained still with memories of blood.
But I also visited the hospital chapel where Romero died saying Mass and the little bungalow next door where he lived in utter simplicity. And I prayed at his tomb in the Cathedral of San Salvador, where it became apparent that already the people understood that he was their saint – San Romero.