Fantastic Harvest Supporters’ Day at Woburn Sands

Over 35 CAFOD volunteers and supporters from 21 parishes (mostly in the north of the Diocese of Northampton) joined in the CAFOD Supporter’s Day in St Mary’s Woburn Sands on Saturday 7 September.  Maggie Osgathorp, Parish Volunteer coordinator – Milton Keynes writes:

Northampton Harvest Supporters’ Day – Woburn Sands

What an exhilarating day! Debbie Purfield, our CAFOD coordinator for the diocese, opened the day with a welcome and prayer.  The day was packed with very interesting and engaging topics from various people.

Peter Haddon – CAFOD Education Volunteer

Education Volunteer, Peter Haddon, shared with us what inspired him to volunteer in schools and how fulfilling it was.  “Children and young people are passionate about Justice and Peace issues and it is great to be able to raise awareness of it and witness how they want to do more”.  He was very grateful to the schools in Luton (which he is linked to) for the welcome he has received and was delighted to be able to accompany some student to the Lobby in London.

Ged Nolan – Campaign volunteer

Ged, our campaigns coordinator, spoke about the value of campaigning and our voices and choices can make a real change.  He mentioned about the success of the London march on 26 June on climate change and gave examples of the very successful Creation Masses held in many parishes with so many parishioners signing the petition to the Prime Minister re Climate change.  He also urged us to take forward Bishop Peter’s encouragement to be a LiveSimply parish.

> Interested in being a Campaigns Volunteer?  Click here

Jessica Michelmore (CAFOD Latin American team) shares her experience in Peru

Our Main speaker, Jessica Michelmore (CAFOD Latin American team), shared her experience from a visit to Peru where she witnessed first-hand the work of our partner organisation Warmi Huasi.  Peru faces a range of challenges – deforestation and mining have a dramatic effect on the environment.  Overpopulation of the slum areas, water pollution, poor infrastructure, the constant threat of flood and landslide, glaciers melting at a rapid pace are but some of the problems Peru faces.  Jessica mentioned how our partner organisation is helping children to stand up for their rights and to engage successfully, even at a very young age, with those in authority.  They are also being provided with ‘safe spaces’ essential in an area where children and young people are so vulnerable.

The quiz which followed after the break enabled us to see how we each used water.   It was obvious from the outcome that we could all be more careful in our own homes as to how we use this precious resource.

Oliver Larkin, Parish Volunteer – St Augustine Milton Keynes

Parish volunteer, Oliver Larkin (from St Augustine – Milton Keynes), shared what inspired him to become a CAFOD volunteer. He said, “After Debbie asked for volunteers, I felt I had to put my faith into action in this way.  It amounted to righteous anger – why should we have so much whilst others had so little?”  His parish has since formed a CAFOD group which has been involved with fundraising, prayer and campaigning.  Currently, they are making a Virtual Village from CAFOD’s World GiftsParishioners can see at a glance how their contributions are supporting our brothers and sisters in developing countries.  A major contribution to this village was from the First Communicants who donated a total of about £1700 to ‘their’ village!  Fantastic!

Deborah Purfield – CAFOD Coordinator Northampton Diocese, welcomes volunteers

Debbie gave an update from Lent 2019 and we were all thrilled to hear how CAFOD has supported Mahinur and her community.  We heard all about this Harvest Fast Day, with the focus country being Unganda.  We were keen to inspire our communities with what we heard.

> Click here for Harvest Fast Day resources and the short talk

We had time for group discussion and ended the day with a prayer and shared lunch.  Several people mentioned how they would take forward ideas they had heard.  One even said she would sign up to be an education volunteer after attending the day!  We all came away totally inspired. ”

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A BIG Thank you to all who attended the day and especially to those who helped in one way or another!  You are all wonderful and it was a really inspiring day!

There is another Harvest Supporter’s day being held in Beaconsfield for those in the south of the diocese on 21 September from 10:15am – 1:30pm followed by a shared lunch.

>> Click here for more information and to book a place


Outdoor Creation mass at St Teresa – Princes Risborough

St Teresa’s CAFOD group (Princes Risborough) organised an outdoor Creation Mass on 1 September – World day of prayer for Creation, in the presbytery garden.  The weather was perfect, with very little breeze and pleasant morning sunshine to entice the parishioners outside.

Creation mass at St Teresa – Princes Risborough

Father Joseph our parish priest, spoke of the beauty and abundance of God’s creation, reminding us how mankind is too often guilty of abusing or simply neglecting the natural world we have been gifted with.  He reminded us of the responsibility we all share to take care of our common home, both for ourselves and for future generations.

Fr Joseph celebrating the Creation mass

Surrounded as we were by nature’s beauty – the trees laden with ripening fruit, the birds singing from the hedgerow and soaring in the sky above us – this outdoor experience of our parish community sharing mass together was both uplifting and memorable.  After the mass, CAFOD’s Climate Change Quiz challenged the young and the young at heart and we enjoyed refreshments together.  This stimulated lively and thoughtful conversation around the theme of ‘Our Common Home’.  What a wonderful community spirit !

>  Click here for Creation prayer


St Mary’s Dunstable Confirmation Candidates Live Simply

This year the St Mary’s Dunstable and St Vincent’s Houghton Regis Confirmation programme have taken to heart the Pope’s message of integral ecology in Laudato Si’ and used CAFOD’s resources to raise awareness on this topic to the parish.

Peter Haddon, CAFOD Education volunteer, giving a session to the confirmandi

In April the group were visited by Education volunteer Peter Haddon who spoke about CAFOD’s work and climate change.  The confirmandi produced posters which were put up in church to raise awareness of the small changes we can all make to help the environment. The posters also contributed towards the parish’s Live Simply award efforts.

>> find out more about how your parish or school can become a LiveSimply group

On Sunday 23 June, as part of the group’s community service, they completed a 4.6km sponsored walk from St. Mary’s Church to tree cathedral in Whipsnade. The confirmandi were joined by their sponsors and family and were able to take in the breath-taking views on a beautiful, sunny day. The group raised a total of £1163 which was spilt equally between CAFOD and the St. Mary’s SVP.

Confirmandi from St Mary’s Dunstable focusing

Catechist Julie O’Regan said, “The confirmandi have really taken on board the meaning of catholic with a small ‘c’, that the church is universal, for all and in all places – therefore we have a duty to take care of it. Having Peter give input into the class and raise awareness of CAFOD work, Live Simply and the sponsored walk helped everyone to appreciate the impact we can have through our faith.”