Lent Long read: We can end AIDS by 2030

chidikamwedzi-support-group
Chidikamwedzi Support Group in Zimbabwe

Ilona Sips is CAFOD’s HIV knowledge management coordinator. As we begin Lent, she shares how we shouldn’t give up now in our goal to end AIDS by 2030 and how, thanks to your help, people in Zimbabwe are taking control of their lives.

There was recently some good news for the people of Zimbabwe: the country is well on track to meet the UN global goal of ending AIDS by 2030. Yet, the last part of any challenge, is always the hardest.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Fast Day appeal Continue reading “Lent Long read: We can end AIDS by 2030”

January exercise: Four reasons to be hopeful for 2017

Mark Chamberlain is a communications officer for CAFOD. Here he shares his four reasons to be hopeful for the year ahead.

CAFOD climate campaign
CAFOD staff members take part in a Climate Campaign outside Westminster Cathedral.

This is a great January exercise: take five minutes to come up with four reasons to be hopeful with the world around us.

I’ll admit right now, it’s not easy. One in every 113 people in the world is now either a refugee, an internally displaced person or an asylum-seeker. Picture the Christmas Eve Mass now – that’s at least one person in the service. If you’ve got a school assembly this week, take a look around. That will probably mean perhaps five of that assembly will be a person who has had to leave their home because they were forced to.

Follow us online and make 2017 the year you speak out against poverty and injustice!

Continue reading “January exercise: Four reasons to be hopeful for 2017”

Step into the Gap: My year with CAFOD

Applications for Step into the Gap 2017 are now open. Ever wondered what life is like for a gapper? Read on to find out! Katy was part of last year’s team, based at St Mary’s Academy in Lancaster.

In October 2015 I wrote a blog about how I was feeling starting the CAFOD gap year. I was excited, nervous and ready for a unique experience. I got it.

In the last week of August I moved up to Blackpool, into St John Vianney’s Presbytery to start my gap year at St Mary’s Catholic Academy. We lived with the Parish priest, Fr Peter, and it quickly became home away from home. I lived there with Peter and Michelle, the second gapper at St Mary’s, and we had so much fun! Living in the parish we got to socialise and become a part of the parish, they were all so welcoming and lovely.

Find out more about Step into the Gap

Continue reading “Step into the Gap: My year with CAFOD”

Fidel and Julia from our C2 El Salvador community reflect on Bishop John’s visit

Fidel and Julia live in Puentecitos, where they work improve life for their community with the support and solidarity of parishes in England and Wales through out Connect2:El Salvador programme. They asked us to share this advent message.

Dear Connect2 Puentecitos and CAFOD

We send warm greetings to all our friends working with CAFOD.

fidel-and-julia-blog-picture
Fidel and Julia in their home in Puentecitos

We were very happy that Clare and Bishop John came to our country, and especially that they came to visit us in our home, for Bishop John’s blessing on our family, with his hands that have been anointed by the Holy Spirit.  This will help us to grow in our faith.

Read Bishop John’s blog on his trip

We admire Bishop John’s vocation as a representative of Christ, and his sacrifice in travelling from a land so far away to visit our country and our home.  We feel blessed to have spent this time with a man who has given himself to God.

Continue reading “Fidel and Julia from our C2 El Salvador community reflect on Bishop John’s visit”

What CAFOD is doing in the Gaza Strip

Olwen Maynard has been working on CAFOD’s Middle East Desk since 2006. Here, she looks back at what the generosity of CAFOD’s supporters made possible in the two years following the last major military offensive.

Drinking clean water in Gaza
A young boy takes a drink of water made clean thanks to your donations (Credit: CRS/Shareef Sahan)

A cup of clean water

Gaza’s tap water is heavily contaminated and dangerous, but buying bottled water is expensive, and can mean having to cut down on food. CAFOD has been working since 2013 with Islamic Relief to provide Reverse Osmosis Units to poor women-headed families, so they can filter their water and make it safe for drinking and cooking. Over the two years since the 2014 airstrikes, which caused massive further damage to the water supply infrastructure, the project has been extended to another 220 families and also to 65 kindergartens, providing clean water for thousands of children, along with hygiene education to help them stay healthy.

Please give to our Advent appeal to help more people around the word

Continue reading “What CAFOD is doing in the Gaza Strip”

Building a future of hope for Afghanistan

Hannah Caldwell, CAFOD’s legacy officer, reflects on how gifts in wills help communities look to the future with hope.

A women's savings group in Lal district.
A women’s savings group in Lal district.

The Oxford dictionary defines the word “legacy” as: “Something left or handed down by a predecessor.”

Working for CAFOD’s legacy team, I always think of a legacy in hugely positive terms. To me, it means a gift, carefully and faithfully given, to help continue the values of love and hope that a person held dear during their lifetime. It’s a gift that will reach out and help build a brighter future for generations to come.

Find out more about leaving a gift in your will

But perhaps I’m biased. For many, the word conjures up a gloomier image. It can, for example, be used to describe the long lasting, deep reaching effects of war or injustice. Continue reading “Building a future of hope for Afghanistan”

Step into the Gap – Welcome to the new CAFOD gap year volunteers!

We’d like to introduce and welcome the new team of CAFOD gap year volunteers as they settle into their placements this week. Read on to find out a little bit about the 2016/2017 team as they gear up for a year of volunteering with CAFOD.

The new team of Step into the Gap volunteers
The new team of Step into the Gap volunteers

 

James
James has joined the chaplaincy team at St Mary’s High School, Blackpool

James – St Mary’s High School, Lancaster

Six years ago I would have never had imagined I would be where I am today. I first got involved in CAFOD’s work in 2010 when I was invited to become another parish representative in church. Since that time, I have helped raise over £7,000 and have taken part in numerous rallies and lobbies, including the Enough Food for Everyone IF Rally in 2013 and the ‘Speak up for the Love of’ Lobby of Parliament in 2015.

This year, I hope to use my skills and knowledge at St Mary’s, where I’ll be part of the chaplaincy team, to put my faith into action. We’ll be supporting the college students at St Mary’s and pupils at Christ the King primary school, and will be fundraising and getting students involved in CAFOD’s work.

Explore CAFOD’s resources for primary schools and secondary schools

I am very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and the stories I will be able to share with students, staff and CAFOD supporters over the coming year.

Continue reading “Step into the Gap – Welcome to the new CAFOD gap year volunteers!”

Canonisation of Mother Teresa

On the day of the canonisation of Blessed Mother Teresa, Daniel Hale, from our campaigns team, reflects on her lifetime of charitable work.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Photo credit: Manfredo Ferrari
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Photo credit: Manfredo Ferrari

Mother Teresa, one of the most globally iconic people in the Catholic Church in the 20th century, is being declared a saint this weekend in Rome. For many, this is the high point of the Pope’s Year of Mercy. Pope Francis holds Teresa up as the embodiment of Jesus’ words, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Download our prayer vigil on care for creation

Leaving the relative comfort of her teaching order, Teresa began a ministry to those living on the streets of India. She showed the touch of God’s mercy to the ‘untouchables’ of society. To those who didn’t know more, her reputation was one of absolute charity – feeding the hungry and comforting the dying. When I grew up, Mother Teresa was its personification.

Continue reading “Canonisation of Mother Teresa”

5 ways to pray on World Day of Prayer for Creation

Rachel McCarthy works in CAFOD’s Theology Programme. Here, she reflects on how you can celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September.  

Church of the Divine Providence, San Salvador
The Church of the Divine Providence, San Salvador.

The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation fills me with gladness. How beautiful it is to think that Catholics all across the world will join together in thanks and praise for the wonderful gifts with which God blesses us.

The World Day of Prayer marks the beginning of the season of creation, which ends on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (4 October). It’s an important opportunity to spend time in prayer and reflection, to care for the world around us: our common home.

Download our prayer vigil for the care of creation

Pope Francis invites us to celebrate this day to draw closer to God, the Creator of all we can see and touch. From the birds in the sky to the tiniest of creatures, from our next-door neighbour to people in Bolivia, each one of us has been created by God.

Continue reading “5 ways to pray on World Day of Prayer for Creation”

World Refugee Day: Send a message of hope

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For World Refugee Day, CAFOD communications officer, Mark Chamberlain reflects on attitudes towards refugees

In the past fortnight a time machine took me back to the late 1980s. I was sitting watching my favourite tea-time programme: a re-run, in glorious Technicolor, of a McCarthy-era, American sci-fi series.

The meek, unsuspecting earthlings were being duped again, by the cold, cunning aliens. More invaders had landed in their town and were taking over. But the only people that could see this were a small boy who kept shouting for people to listen…and me.

Send a message of hope to refugees on World Refugee Day Continue reading “World Refugee Day: Send a message of hope”