From vows to volunteering

Leo and Jane Conley have been married for 38 years and 5 years ago they retired. They wanted to find a purposeful activity they could share which utilised their skills. After meeting with a CAFOD representative by chance, Leo and Jane decided that volunteering in schools running workshops and assemblies would be perfect.

Since 2016, the duo have been on more than 130 visits to schools in and around Bolton, inspiring numerous young minds!! But the benefits go two ways – Leo and Jane feel that they learn from the children and young people they meet.

Jane said: “We love going into schools. Children in primary schools have a natural inclination for good; to be kind and to help. In secondary schools, students like the fact that they can hear a positive message. They are so overwhelmed by negative news that somebody coming in and giving them a way to act positively shows them that they can make a change and that progress is being made.

“Once you go into retirement, it’s lovely to find something that you can do together that’s worthwhile and different, setting new challenges for you as a couple. For a lot of people, retirement can mean that you find yourself thrown together so it’s useful if you can find something that you can do together… something that’s new to you both.”

Leo added: “We have every admiration for everyone who volunteers by themselves… We couldn’t do it without the other, even though I do get in trouble for stepping on Jane’s lines!”

This is a beautiful and emotional story. It is so inspiring, Leo and Jane’s contribution to CAFOD is fantastic – what a fulfilling way to spend your retirement! We have a brilliant team of solo volunteers and married couples in the area who visit schools and offer such a valuable input to local young people on how their efforts can help communities overseas, if you are interested in being part of this big family follow the link.

CAFOD PRAYERS for Tuesday 4th Sept. 2018

Feast of St. Cuthbert (634-687) – Shepherd, monk, prior, hermit, bishop; “the new Adam at peace with all creation”; and

Feast of Blessed Dina Belanger (1897-1929)

Musician, mystic; “She entered into the mystery of love at the heart of the Trinity”.


“My hope is that the recovery of the Celtic tradition will make a contribution to the wounded and suffering world that we see all around us. Can the vision of a marginalised people who have known suffering in its many forms – political, economic, social – show us a way forward? The deep Celtic sense of relatedness in a harmonious unity is hardly surprising when we remember the central place that the Trinity played in their lives. This being at ease with the Trinity, with whom Celtic people talk and walk daily, speaks of a God who is constantly reaching out in love toward the whole created order in all its diversity. It is co-operating with the Father, who makes and maintains; the Son, who encourages all the human works of compassion and reconciliation; and the Spirit, from whom comes all wisdom, inspiration and imagination. This is the ever-present Trinity to whom they naturally turn in time of need, danger or uncertainty.”

(“The Celtic Way of Prayer” by Esther de Waal)

Opening Prayer:

Blessed are you, Lord God, Creator of all peoples,

giver of life and health and love.

Help us to see you in the world’s needs,

to see your presence in the poor,

to serve you in serving others,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.


Scripture     1 Cor. 2

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13 And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

14 Those who are unspiritual[e] do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.

16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

Luke 4:31-43

31 He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. 32 They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. 36 They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” 37 And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

38 After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. 39 Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.

40 As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. 41 Demons also came out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.

42 At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.”


We bring before you, Lord,

The troubles and dangers of people and nations,

The sighing of prisoners,

The sorrows of the bereaved,

The necessities of strangers,

The dependency of the weary,

The failing powers of the aged.

Lord, draw near to each

For the sake of Jesus Christ.

(Saint Augustine of Hippo)

Concluding Prayer

God show you the way of peace

that you may receive peace,

that you may give peace,

that you may live peace,

that you may share peace,

that the peace of God shine in you.

God be with you to guide you,

God be with you to protect you,

God be with you to strengthen you,

God be above you to lift you,

God be beneath you to support you.

And the blessing of God Almighty,

the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

be with you, and remain with you,

now and always.  Amen.


(Prayers by David Adam from “The Open Gate”)

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