Thank you so much to all of the individuals, teams, families, schools and parishes who participated in this year’s Big Lent Walk. Your incredible efforts are greatly appreciated, and we look forward to inviting you back next year!
In the final days of the Big Lent Walking Challenge, join the ‘Walk to Easter’ by reaching 40km in 8 days—the perfect number for Lent! Starting on Palm Sunday, continuing through Holy Week and finishing on Easter Sunday, we invite you to finish the Big Lent Walk in style and bring your faith, fundraising, and fitness together.
We are, as St John Paul II said, suffering a ‘paradox of abundance;’ we need 3.7 billion tonnes a year to feed everyone, and we produce more than 4 billion. Yet every day, one in ten, or 800 million people, go hungry. This summer, CAFOD has been asking Catholics to come together and look at the fundamental issues afflicting our food system.
Emily is training as a CAFOD young leader volunteer in Portsmouth Diocese. Alongside other young leaders, this Harvest she spoke up for CAFOD at her school by running an assembly. Their assembly helped fundraise a record amount!
CAFOD’s Brighten Up campaign this Harvest was an opportunity for all of us involved in the CAFOD young leadership programme at my college to co-ordinate our own fundraising in aid of CAFOD’s work, focusing on their partnership in Bolivia.
By using an assembly and service as our main means of communication to students and staff at our school, we were able to get across the message of CAFOD in such a positive way and give CAFOD a new face at our school. By literally trying to Brighten Up this Harvest, we encouraged our student body to all wear scarves to our Harvest Festival whilst giving charitable donations which made for a much ‘brighter’ day!
In July, Takura Gwatinyanya, from CAFOD partner Caritas Harare, will be travelling across England and Wales to share his passion for tackling poverty and to show how your support is making a difference in Zimbabwe.
Meet Takura and discover more about CAFOD’s climate and energy campaign at a series of special events, starting in London on Wednesday 6 July.
We caught up with Takura to ask his about his family, his work and what keeps him motivated.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
I am married to Rutendo Avriel, and we have one five-year-old son.
You’re an expert in water and sanitation. What makes you passionate about this area?
My experience in sanitation and humanitarian work has shown me that access to water and sanitation is a fundamental human right. It bring human dignity, with immediate and evidenced results. The need for decent water and sanitation cuts across all ages and all backgrounds, it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor.
Pumps run on solar power are helping people in the communities where I work to access clean water and are reducing the time it takes people to collect water.
Ahead of Volunteers’ week, we asked a number of CAFOD volunteers to share their experiences with us. Here, Anne-Marie McBrien, a parish volunteer in the Portsmouth diocese, tells us why she makes time in a very busy schedule to help:
Firstly – because I was asked to! This is a very important point, I think, as lots of people don’t realise that CAFOD always needs more people to help and that you don’t need to do much to make a difference.
I was asked by an older parishioner to take on the role because she was tired and her husband was ill and I am younger and more mobile. I resisted at first because I do so many other things, and I have so little time, but I said yes because she needed someone to take it off her. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to devote any time to CAFOD. I was invited to, but couldn’t make, the supporter’s meeting just after I had taken on the role. I didn’t think it mattered really, as I gave the short talk at mass for Lent and I put up the posters I was sent. I felt I was too busy with other church things, school responsibilities and latterly, the Scouts. Too much to do!
Hugh Gibbons is a CAFOD volunteer from Bracknell in the Portsmouth diocese who has led several community art projects to spread the word about Blessed Oscar Romero’s life and legacy.
I think he’d smile. Art with its sleeves rolled up is how I like to think of my offbeat contribution to the tributes for Romero in an unplanned series of good-natured portraits seen by thousands of people – indoors and out. And there’s been a flow of good stories for the local press and beyond.
The starting point was a visit to Stonyhurst College in Lancashire four years ago. The Librarian Jan Graffius is also the conservator of Romero’s relics in the little museum in the Divina Providencia Hospital in San Salvador. Not bones, but telling items such as three pairs of socks, a manual typewriter, spare spectacles – and blood-stained vestments.
On Jan’s I spotted a small triptych of Romero’s life by an up-country artist. Something clicked. I’m not an artist. But painting on wood in blocks of bright Salvadoran colours seemed something I could have a go at – and many school and parish for that matter.
So I scaled up the familiar little CAFOD Memorial Cross as Romero 1.0 in our porch, to welcome all visitors.
Romero 2.0 quickly followed – but 2 metres high! ‘Big Oscar’ was a present for St Francis of Assisi parish in South Ascot as a thank you for 50 years of CAFOD support. The cross was ‘ruggedized’ to withstand the weather in its setting on the outside of the church, so that all the passing public could enjoy and gain something from it. And there was room for Romero with trademark eyebrows and glasses. Continue reading “Art and soul of Romero”