Celebrating the canonisation of St Oscar Romero

Along with many people globally, we were thrilled to hear that Pope Francis was going to make Oscar Romero a saint.  On 14 October, thousands of pilgrims gathered in the Vatican to pay tribute to the Salvadoran Archbishop, who was murdered in 1980 whilst celebrating Mass.  Six others were also canonised that day, including Pope Paul VI.

>> See Oscar Romero’s life time line here

Bishop Peter Doyle celebrates the canonisation of St Oscar Romero with a mass

 

To celebrate this wonderful occasion our diocese held a special mass at Sacred Heart, Leighton Buzzard on Tuesday 20 November.  It was led by Bishop Peter, and concelebrated by several priests and deacons.

In his homily, Bishop Peter spoke of the courageous witness of St. Oscar Romero, and how that courageous witness to Christ continues in the Church today. He mentioned a couple in Baghdad who, in spite of the dangers, were determined to continue living there as part of a small Catholic community, and also, Archbishop Odama of Gulu in Northern Uganda who took his life in his hands and went alone to speak with the rebels who were killing his people, looking for some steps towards reconciliation and peace. These examples very much reflect Oscar Romero’s words: “Let my death be for the liberation of my people”.

Gifts taken up at the offertory

As part of the Offertory procession, significant items were also brought forward: a picture of Oscar Romero, his book “Memories in Mosaic”, the “Romero cross” and a radio, representing the Archbishop’s sermons which were broadcasted to the nation.

After mass, there was a lovely spread of cheese and wine refreshments in the Parish Hall, followed by a splendid presentation by Dr John Guy – CAFOD Trustee – who conveyed the thrill of the events of the canonisation day in Rome which he attended.

Dr John Guy (CAFOD trustee) shares his experiences of being in Rome at the canonisation of Oscar Romero

A big thank you to Bishop Peter and the parish of Sacred Heart for hosting the event as well as to John who came all the way from Oxford to share his experiences with us. It was a truly wonderful celebration.

 

Diocesan Memorial Mass 2018 at IHM Great Missenden

We had a wonderful CAFOD memorial mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Great Missenden on 18 November 2018, to remember and pray for volunteers and supporters who have died – many of whom have helped shape and grow our organisation. Each year we take time to show our gratitude by having Mass said for them, and for loved ones deeply missed by our present supporters.  It is a time to come together and reflect on the lasting impact our loved ones have had on the world.  We pray they find peace and that we can continue their legacy of love in their memory.

Lynn Newton and Fr Alessandro at the 2018 CAFOD Memorial Mass – IHM Great Missenden

Fr Alessandro very kindly offered say the mass and Lynne Newton took up the memorial book which was so apt as her husband, Ray who was the parish contact in the parish for many years, passed away in 2017. We remember him and all those whose names are written in the book.  The Romero cross was also taken up at the offertory and placed next to the memorial book.  Lynn said, “I am very honoured to have been asked to take up the book. I know Ray would be delighted!”

Fr Alessandro invited Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) to say a few words before the end of mass. Debbie thanked the parish and all those who travelled from outside the parish and even the diocese for their prayers.  She mentioned how just as we light a candle for a loved one who’s passed away, creating a Candlelight Fund in their name is a special way to remember them. Candlelight funds celebrate a life and touch thousands more.  She also used the opportunity to thank the parish for welcoming CAFOD into their new premises and invited people to pop over for a cuppa and chat.  “We are always looking for volunteers” she added.

Looking through the Memorial book

Lynn Newton with Anna Fitzpatrick

After the mass, several people came up to peruse the book to find the name of a love one. Anna Fitzpatrick came across from the Birmingham diocese and was delighted to find the names of several loved ones.  She is said, “I am so pleased to see their names in the book.  I think the donating in memory scheme is a wonderful and shall be sharing that with my friends and family”

Refreshments were served in the lovely parish hall where the book was brought and where resources were displayed. Debbie handed out prayer cards to all present and they were received with appreciation.  She noted, “it was a wonderful opportunity to introduce myself personally to the parishioners and to explain how CAFOD’s work includes not only fundraising but campaigning and prayer.

>> To set up a Candlelight Fund, visit our website here

 

Challenging Consumerism – Responding to Pope Francis’ call

We had a wonderful CAFOD retreat in the beautiful grounds of Thornton College near Milton Keynes on 10 November 2018.  We had 26 CAFOD volunteers and Supporters not only from the Northampton diocese but also a few from the Birmingham and  East Anglia Dioceses who attended the day.

CAFOD Campaign retreat 2018 at Thornton College

The retreat looked at holiness through the lens of consumerism and the environment,  exploring how living more simply, challenging consumerism and responding to the urgent call of the environment is a way for us to awaken our holiness.   Ged Nolan – Campaign volunteer coordinator, writes:

“After an inspiring and reflective opening prayer based on the Beatitudes, we had an ice breaker which, apart from enabling us to get to know each other a bit more, showed our interconnectedness.

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We then heard how, in his new letter, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), Pope Francis encourages us to open our eyes, ears and hearts, to be unsettled by the words of the Gospel and expand our often limited horizons. We are to celebrate the qualities of the Beatitudes, which the world would actually see as afflictions.  The meek, poor and wounded of the earth are blessed because they put their hope in God and not wealth.  The mourners, the peace-makers and the seekers of righteousness put their hope in God because they confront what the world can’t confront.

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