We are celebrating International Volunteer’s day in Katherine House

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This Tuesday, apart from our monthly prayer and after meal with our volunteers, we have been able to celebrate together international volunteer’s day, surrounded by delicious food (specially mince pies) and lovely people. With Christmas almost here, we have shared about what we will do with our families, the best way to get a tastier turkey, exchange Christmas cards, and catch up on the different projects that we are involved in with CAFOD.

However, on this special Tuesday, the idea of celebrating international volunteer’s day has also brought a reflection on what volunteering means to us. The idea to give freely your time to others, share your knowledge and wisdom and be ready to learn new skills.

We appreciate the importance of each volunteer and with their different approaches in life, from school’s coordinators to office volunteers, and backgrounds which has made a huge impact in CAFOD and all those countries that it is reaching and helping.

For this and everything, we THANK YOU for all your hard work, your time, your passion, to support CAFOD and we celebrate the importance of all your work. We hope that this can also encourage others to come and volunteer and take part of this huge family.  

 

Monthly Prayers – December

Advent

Introduction

What can Advent teach us about waiting?  First of all, we who are rich must open our eyes to the poor, who have no option but to wait. We must share their patient vigil as they wait for a more just world, and their struggle to bring it about. We struggle to diminish the length of their waiting.

Why does the Lord delay?  Why do the poor still have to go on crying out for justice, 2000 years after the coming of Christ?  Why does not God bring about a world in which all of humanity may flourish now?

We do not know the answer to that, but at the very least we must live with the urgency of the question.  Perhaps one tiny element of a response is in deepening our understanding of how God comes.  Our God is not a powerful, celestial superman.  The coming of God is not like the cavalry galloping to our rescue.  God comes from within, in our deepest interiority.

During Advent, we practise patience as we wait and watch for the coming of the Lord.  Like midwives gathered around the bed, we await the birth.  But God’s coming was not just the birth of a child; it was the coming of a word.  One might even say that it was the coming of a language.

It needed hundreds of years for English to evolve to the point at which Shakespeare might write Hamlet.  The language had to be formed by poets and lawyers, preachers, philosophers and peasants, by nurses and gravediggers, before it was ready.  In a similar way, it needed thousands of years before there was a language in which God’s word could be spoken in the form of Jesus.  We needed all those experiences of liberation and exile, of the building and demolition of kingdoms.  We needed innumerable prophets and scribes and poets, struggling to find words before Jesus could be born as the Word.  The Word of God does not come down from heaven like a celestial Esperanto.  It wells up from within human language.

Waiting for the coming of God is not, then, mere passivity.  We do not only wait with the poor, we share their struggles.  We must be attentive to the experience of the poor, so that together we gestate a language in which their hopes may find expression.  Then indeed we may have words into which the Word of God may come and find a home.

          Extracted from “Just One Year”, by Timothy Radcliffe OP

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Parishioners in Salford share Brazilian families’ joy after campaign success

Thanks to the support of parishioners from across the Diocese of Salford who were amongst the 4,000 people to support a CAFOD petition, over 1,000 people in São Paulo will spend this Christmas safe in the knowledge that they no longer face eviction from their home.

#FicaMauá – Let them stay

In September 2017, CAFOD launched a campaign to halt the eviction of around 1,000 people living in the abandoned hotel in the centre of São Paulo, Brazil.

The Mauá Building in the centre of São Paulo stood empty for 17 years until 2007, when 237 working families moved in.  They lovingly renovated the building and for the last ten years have called it home.  The building has been home to a thriving community, providing a social use and revitalising an otherwise derelict area in the city centre.

Ever since they moved in, the families have been trying to win the legal rights to their home, which Brazilian law allows, asking that the authorities acquire the building and convert it into social housing for low-income families.

In a landmark case, after ongoing campaigning by the families, public authorities have agreed to purchase the building for around £4.6 million (20 million reais), allowing for it to be converted into social housing.

Your actions helped to bring about change

It is thanks to your support that the fear and uncertainty of losing their homes is no longer a reality for the families living in the Mauá community.

Neti de Araújo’s, a leader in the Mauá community, said:  “I want to thank each and every one of you for your support. I am very happy knowing there are people like you, our friends and companions.

“After so much struggle and sacrifice, ten years of ups and downs, it is finally feasible; we have persuaded the owners of the need for families to live here. The struggle will continue! Thank you!”

CAFOD representative in Salford, Ann Wilson, added: “The way that parishioners from Salford have rallied together to prevent this injustice, where over 1,000 people were threatened with being left on the streets this Christmas, has been astounding.

“We are so thankful that so many people in the diocese have acted: spreading the word, signing the petition and even standing in solidarity with the community by photographing themselves with a #ficamaua sign.

“Your prayers and messages of solidarity have given the families strength and hope at this difficult time.”

The fight continues

CAFOD will continue to support stand in solidarity and pray for the families in their struggle for a safe and permanent home.

Find out more about how you can directly support families in Brazil