Our common future: What to ask your general election candidates

CAFOD’s director Chris Bain outlines three crucial questions to ask your candidates – on aid, climate change and Britain’s role in the world. He explains in three short clips why these issues matter to CAFOD during the UK general election 2017.

CAFOD Director Chris Bain
CAFOD Director, Chris Bain

As Catholics, Pope Francis reminds us that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and calls us to join a new dialogue about the future.

This election must look to the kind of society we wish to create for ourselves and to pass on to our children. It’s also about the world we want to see for our brothers and sisters worldwide, especially those who are poorest and most vulnerable.

Email your local candidates today

Continue reading “Our common future: What to ask your general election candidates”

General election 2017: Hearing ‘the cry of the poor’

Eleanor Margetts at CAFOD MP Correspondents reception
Eleanor Margetts at CAFOD MP Correspondents reception

Eleanor Margetts is a young CAFOD volunteer, who spoke at CAFOD’s parliamentary reception for MPs and MP Correspondents. This extract is from her inspiring speech.

I have been involved with CAFOD for about four years. The organisation has been a huge part of my life and continues to shape me.

I must admit, when I first chose to volunteer with CAFOD, I applied for the Step into the Gap programme, hoping that it would give me a leg up in the education sector.

But, unexpectedly, I encountered what Pope Francis calls the ‘cry of the poor’. Through working alongside CAFOD, something switched on inside me: a sense of responsibility for the rights of my global family.

Speak up on poverty and climate change this election

Continue reading “General election 2017: Hearing ‘the cry of the poor’”

Bishop John Arnold visits our friends in Puentecitos.

In November 2016, the Chair of CAFOD, Bishop John Arnold, visited El Salvador and Nicaragua. The last stop of his 10-day programme was to visit our friends in Puentecitos. These are some of his reflections.

Chair of CAFOD, Bishop John Arnold visits Connect2 El Salvador
Closing ceremony of the women’s workshop

We set off for a day in the rural area of Guaymango in the Department of Ahuachapan. It was about a two-hour journey to the West, almost to Guatemala. The good roads lasted until just a few miles from Guaymango and the last couple of miles were really nothing more than a single track of unmade road.

The scenery, however, was magnificent with mountains and volcanoes dominating the plain which stretched across to the ocean, which was clearly visible. Everything here is green and manages to remain so for most of the year. Agriculture is the basis of all livelihoods here though factories and assembly plants are increasingly present, together with small hotels which are hoping to see an increase in the tourist trade, particularly for what is apparently excellent surfing. This part of El Salvador was not so much directly affected by the war (1980-92) but many young men here were “pressed” into the army. The area has suffered in recent years by the increasing control of gangs.

Find out more about Connect2 El Salvador.

Continue reading “Bishop John Arnold visits our friends in Puentecitos.”

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”

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”

The impact of Laudato Si’ one year on

It’s one year Laudato Si’ was published. Pope Francis used this ‘letter to the world’ to call for action on issues such as climate change and for us to rethink our ideas of progress. Liam Finn, CAFOD‘s UK News Officer, looks at the impact of the encyclical:

CAFOD supporters at a study day focused on Laudato Si'
CAFOD supporters at a study day focused on Laudato Si’

“I wish to address every person living on this planet.”

So declared Pope Francis at the start of his landmark encyclical, Laudato Si’ – On Care for Our Common Home, a year ago. The Holy Father called for a “bold cultural revolution”, imploring us to transform ourselves because the human and environmental costs of our current way of life – particularly for the world’s poorest people – are too high. He spoke of the need for measures to tackle climate change and pollution, for greater awareness and appreciation of nature and the planet, and for us to value everyone in all places and at all stages of life.

Act on Laudato Si’ and help people access renewable energy

Laudato Si’ is extraordinary. For a start, it’s the first encyclical focused on the need to care for Creation. It is, as MPs said in Parliament, a “most beautiful document” which is “astonishing and exceptionally rich”. Even so, its greatest power is the way it acts as a mirror to the world with brutal reflections, whether saying that the earth “is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth”, or talking about “the disposable of society” – a description so steeped in satire that it reads more like it’s from the pen of a punk lyricist than a pontiff.

But this encyclical is also extraordinary because of the reaction it generated both before and after its publication. Continue reading “The impact of Laudato Si’ one year on”

World Day for Migrants and Refugees

This blog is written by Linda Jones, Head of the CAFOD Theology Programme. Linda shares her thoughts on the World Day for Migrants and Refugees in this Year of Mercy.

Aza and her young son
Aza and her son

‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’ (Luke 6:36).

“They (refugees) are men and women like us… seeking a better life, starving, persecuted, wounded, exploited, victims of war” Pope Francis.

Last year the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) recorded that more than one million migrants and refugees had crossed the Mediterranean Sea, seeking sanctuary in Europe. Sadly, the UN Refugee agency (UNCHR) say that over 3,700 other children, women and men did not survive the perilous journey by sea, and drowned on their journey to safety.

Find out more about our response to the refugee crisis

Aza fled Syria with her infant son because of the war. She said, “They told us that there would be 35 people in our boat but when we arrived there were more than 200. We were in the sea and the engine stopped. The first thing we did was call the coastguard but they didn’t come.

Continue reading “World Day for Migrants and Refugees”

Our CAFOD young climate bloggers: How to live more sustainably

Our CAFOD young climate bloggers never cease to engage with what is going on in the world around them. This month some

E-squad noticeboard at St James
E-squad noticeboard at St James

of them have been looking at living more sustainably. Two of our blogging groups, from St James’s and St Roberts, have been looking at ways in which they can do this individually, and on a wider level in their school communities.

Kayleigh, from St James, says:

“We at St James are trying to be very environmentally friendly. Before we started blogging, we already had a few things in place. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the installation of a wind turbine and solar panels at the school. We are now re-launching the E-squad to let people know what we have done and can do ourselves. The E-squad’s motto is recycle, reuse, reduce. Here is our notice board that raises awareness and reminds us of the small changes we can all make. Throughout the school, recycling takes place dividing litter into three different categories. If everyone does their bit, then we will can make a difference together.”

Call on David Cameron to act on climate change and sign CAFOD’s climate change petition

St Roberts students on their enrichment visit to Europe
St Roberts students on their enrichment visit to Europe

The St Roberts bloggers also encourage us to think how lifestyle changes, such as turning the heating down, can play a part. They’ve been inspired by a recent trip to the European Parliament, arranging a private meeting with their MEP Jude Kirton-Darling. They said that the trip gave them “an insight into what other countries and the European Union itself is doing to combat climate change, whether it is through emissions cuts or more investment in renewable energy. Continue reading “Our CAFOD young climate bloggers: How to live more sustainably”

Who do you say I am?

This reflection and prayer, based on the gospel for Sunday 28 June, Matthew 16:13-19, were written by Matthew Sanderson, who is the Executive Assistant to the Director of CAFOD.

“Who do you say I am?”

Matthew Sanderson on a recent trip visiting CAFOD projects in El Salvador
Matthew Sanderson visiting CAFOD projects in El Salvador

What were your first thoughts of God? What did you imagine God to be? For me, God was a figure sat on a cloud with a beard, or someone who wagged his finger from on high. As I have grown up, so too has my answer to the question ‘Who do I say God is?’

For me, God is love. That is who I say God is.

Last week saw the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. Pope Francis is clear that God made us all out of love and to love.

Reflect on Pope Francis’ encyclical

We are reminded in the encyclical that “the entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us” (Laudato Si’ section #84). I am reminded of this when I see the rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Dales.

What’s more, the special love of the Creator means each human being is “conceived in the heart of God” (#65). As children of God, we have an inherent dignity, not because of anything we have done, but out of God’s love for us.

We can reflect God’s love for us in our daily lives as “we were made for love” (#58). By remaining in God’s love, may we come to know the Lord more and more each day.

Lord, we give thanks for your love and the world around us. We pray that we continually realise that we were made for love. Amen.

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