Volunteers’ Week 2018

Without volunteers, our work at CAFOD would be made much more difficult.

Whether you play your part as a communications volunteer who amplifies the voice of those in need, an education volunteer helping to inspire future generations, or an office volunteer helping to ensure the smooth-running of the office, your input is valuable. People who help out at Fast Days, respond to emergencies, make change by campaigning or spending your Sunday’s speaking at mass, your passion for social justice is clear and your help appreciated.

Here, CAFOD’s Director of Operations, Geoff, has a message of thanks for you:

Throughout this week, we will be celebrating many of the volunteers here at CAFOD and saying thank you for all the work that you do within schools and your own parishes!

Interested in volunteering with CAFOD? Find out more

Highlights of the Year – 2017 Part II

Written by CAFOD volunteer Estefania Gonzalez.

We’ve had such a great year that we had to split it into two blogs!

Read Part I of our 2017 highlights!

Laudato Si

In Laudato Si, the letter of Pope Francis, he talks about our ‘care for our common home’ and to show our love for creation. In June, CAFOD Salford, as a practical response for this, launched its B.O.B box project. Bishop John Arnold has encouraged the project and said that ‘the B.O.B boxes gives us a real opportunity to connect with nature, by helping endangered birds and bats that are so important to our local environment’

Don’t ditch Fair Trade

Unfortunately, this year Sainsbury’s decided to ditch Fairtrade Mark from some of their own brand tea and replace it with its own ‘Fairly Traded’ brand. Fairtrade makes a difference to the workers in some of the world’s poorest communities.

But CAFOD, in collaboration with others, have said #dontditchfairtrade by taking action in October. Thanks to that, thousands of people have already written to Sainsbury’s and gather outside their local Sainsbury’s store using mug props saying ‘‘Ditching Fairtrade: not my cup of tea’.

Ficamaua

Lastly, but not least, the amazing result on Maua. CAFOD has been supporting the Maua community for months to avoid the eviction where hundreds of families in Sao Paulo would lose their roof over their heads.

In England and Wales, 4,000 CAFOD supporters joined this action by signing petitions, sending emails and sharing pictures in social media #Ficamaua, and the eviction was CANCELLED.

This means that 237 families who have been living in Maua for the last decade will continue to live there.

From CAFOD Salford, we want to say THANK YOU, and we hope that this serves as a reflection of this year on how much we can achieve when we are united.

Hope all these stories have inspired and encouraged you for a better 2018.

Thank you for everything.

A happy new year from Steve, Ann and Rosie.

Shoots of love and mercy blossom – A Christmas reflection

On the approach to Christmas, we hope that you enjoy this reflection, written by CAFOD Salford volunteer, Joy Wanless.

Isaiah 11:1 “Out of the stump of Jesse’s tree will grow a shoot.”

orchid

Have you noticed orchid plants in the shops this Christmastime?  They are everywhere. My orchid plant had lost its blooms, looked like it was dying.  I’ve been watching my orchid plants sitting on the windowsill, just sitting, patiently.  I’ve danced them round the kitchen, singing to them trying to encourage them to grow again, letting them know they are loved.  Finally, finally, in God’s good time, there are new buds growing from what looked dead, bringing new life. orchid 2I call my friend who bought the plant for my Mum who died 2 and half years ago to tell her the good news, “wow” she says, “amazing, life lives on”.   We rejoice in the memories of our missed parents.

Sounds familiar?  What looked like dead is now alive.  New shoots from old.  Jesse’s family tree seemed dead, chopped down, no new life and then there’s God.  Not only new life but the beginnings of THE new life, JESUS as the family tree grows again, new offspring, bringing new life to all.    We are sad, we rejoice.

What does that life look like as we look around us today?

Sad: Homeless on our streets

Foodbanks springing up to help those who can’t cope.  We rejoice.

Sad: Refugees in trouble,

Refugee action groups growing to help. We rejoice.

Sad:  Scandals in public life.

Agencies acting to change legislation, protect the vulnerable. We rejoice.

Yes, often where there’s tragedy there’s a charitable response. People care.

Isaiah 61:1 “The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to set the captives free…” and again in Luke 4:18.  The same words followed by, “and today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”.  Jesus is with us, He has come. Out of the stump of the Jesse tree a new shoot of love and mercy has blossomed.  As we follow the CAFOD Advent calendar we see the hope alive that is the fruit of our work as CAFOD volunteers and supporters; the hope which all those who suffer tremendous hardships manage to hold on to.  The arm of God reaches out to them through others and shoots of love and mercy blossom.

As we approach Christmas let’s revisit the words of Isaiah and of Jesus.  Let’s read the CAFOD Advent calendar and rejoice in the fruits of our work. Let’s look around us and see all the hope, rejoicing in our good God.  We were made out of love to be love and to share that love.

Dear Lord, we pray that this Christmas season we will open our eyes and our hearts to your love and be ready and willing to live that love, blossoming as shoots of love and mercy, shining your light in the darkness.   Amen

Discover more prayer and reflection from CAFOD