On Sunday CAFOD supporters from across the Dioceses of Salford and Lancaster turned out in numbers to attend the Annual Supporters’ Day at St Wilfrid’s in Longridge. This year’s Supporters’ Day was a very special one to mark the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of CAFOD. CAFOD Salford and CAFOD Lancaster had invited two special guests: Bishop Brain (Diocese of Salford) and Bishop Campbell (Diocese of Lancaster); the two bishops concelebrated Mass along with Fr Steven Parkinson and Fr David Chinnery.
Despite the terrible weather on the Friday, the event went ahead with some last-minute alterations. Fr David of St Wilfrid’s very kindly allowed the use of the parish hall and church grounds for a celebratory lunch and the church for some CAFOD speakers. Our usual venue of Lee House at Thornley near Chipping was a little water-logged and car-parking would have become a little tricky in the mud!
The uplifting celebratory Mass had some terrific musical accompaniment. During Mass some children of St Wilfrid’s Primary School brought some of their CAFOD inspired work to the altar accompanied by some older supporters who carried other symbols representing the work of CAFOD around the globe. At the end of Mass Bishop Brain led a Prayer of Recommitment to energize CAFOD supporters in their vital work for their sisters and brothers in the developing world. After Mass everybody was invited to enjoy a very tasty shared buffet lunch in the parish hall, where supporters had time to recharge their batteries and meet with friends old and new. A big thank you to Gertrude and Pat of St Wilfrid’s who generously helped organise the food and refreshments.
After lunch people then gathered back in church for a special CAFOD guest speaker, Clare Dixon, CAFOD’s Head of Latin America & Caribbean Section. Clare spoke very movingly of her work with CAFOD over the last 36 years, particularly in the Latin American region. She also shared some of the good news stories, for example how CAFOD left Chile in 2008 having seen the country grow into a more developed democracy out of the dark days of a military dictatorship, and how the people of Chile raised millions of dollars to help the people of Haiti after they suffered the devastating earthquake of 2010. A case of the receivers becoming the givers.
After Clare, we had the pleasure of listening to two inspiring young ladies, Emma and Amy, two CAFOD “Gappers” from the Dioceses of Lancaster and Salford respectively. Emma and Amy spoke about their experiences of visiting Ghana last year for four weeks and then their subsequent volunteering at St Mary’s Catholic Sports College in Blackpool for Emma and with Just Youth in Salford for Amy. During the remainder of their gap year they have had the opportunity to tell others about their time in Africa and the work of CAFOD.
After the talks everybody returned to the parish hall for a very special 50th Anniversary cutting of the cake. Anne Marie Coppock, our very own CAFOD Salford Diocesan Manager cut the cake with her CAFOD diocesan colleagues from Salford and Lancaster. Anne Marie had the pleasure as she is sadly shortly to retire, after more than 25 years of inspiring work with CAFOD. The delicious cake was then shared out among the supporters and washed down with some more tea or coffee. A terrific and joyous day was had by all, here’s to the next 50 years!