I’m Lizzie, I’m based at Just Youth in Salford as part of the Step into the Gap programme and I’m writing about my experience of speaking at Mass for Harvest Fast Day.
When we had our first induction weekend for the Step into the Gap programme, we were told that we would be given the opportunity to speak at Mass for both Harvest and Lent Fast Days. Back in July this seemed ages away, but it suddenly crept up on me and before I knew it harvest was upon us.
After speaking with Father David, who we also live with as part of the community at Just Youth, he agreed to let Sophie, the other Step into the Gap volunteer at Just Youth, and I take over the homily for the Mass. This was an incredible opportunity as we had been told it would just be at the end of Mass, when most people have started to think about what to make for dinner or whether to put some washing out. We were to speak at Mass on both the Saturday evening and Sunday morning, giving us the chance to talk to the whole parish.
Using the example of Nicanora and her community, we explained to the parish about the project backed by CAFOD in Bolivia. The Hands On Altiplano project allows farmers, like Nicanora, to work to overcome the food insecurity they currently face. By building greenhouses, their crops will not get battered by the extreme weather they endure. By installing irrigation systems on the land, they will be able to keep the land fertile. As a massive geography geek, my degree allows it, I understand just how important projects like this are to help those negatively impacted by the changes in our climate.
We told them about the amazing work helping communities overseas and how they could play a part in it. Both Saturday evening and Sunday morning, everyone was really engaged with what we were talking about and even gave us a round of applause once we had finished. There was a second collection for CAFOD, where the fast day envelopes were collected along with any donations people felt called to give after listening to us.
The whole parish gave us really lovely feedback on both speaking during Mass and the amazing work CAFOD does. Seeing how much of an impact CAFOD has, on people in England and Wales by allowing them to be a part of the amazing projects happening overseas, was a real privilege.