A celebration of a pillar of CAFOD

We can all agree that CAFOD does a pretty amazing job, empowering individuals and communities in some of the most deprived areas of the world. Yet, none of this could be achieved without the crucial work of our volunteers.  YOU are our backbone, helping us in many different ways to share our stories, give your voices and pray to fight poverty and injustice in our world where there is great need. CAFOD volunteers make a tremendous difference and are truly inspiring people!


Pat Taylor with Fr Evaristus Bassey (Director of Cartias Nigeria), Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) and Fr Joseph Udoh (parish priest)

One such volunteer is Pat Taylor, from the Parish of John Henry Newman in High Wycombe. She has been a Parish volunteer for almost 30 years and at the age of 84 is still going strong!  We shared her remarkable story in a previous posting.  On 13 April, her long-standing commitment to CAFOD – 25 years – was recognised and celebrated at a special Mass in the Parish.

Pat Taylor with her family who came to celebrate with her

The parish were very keen to support Pat and to show her how loved and appreciated she was.  Attending this very joyful celebration was Pat’s family, who came from far and wide just for the occasion, as well as parishioners from nearby parishes who knew Pat and have been touched by her unceasing enthusiasm over the years.

Preparations started early with everyone bringing something to share and getting the place ready.  The mass was a wonderful way of giving thanks for Pat’s work.  We were blessed to have con-celebrating the mass Fr Evaristus Bassey, Director of Caritas Nigeria, who happened to be visiting the UK.  Fr Evaristus gave a moving first-hand account of CAFOD’s practical and effective impact on the ground and urged all to “continue supporting this vital work which really empowers people”.

Pat Taylor presented with a Papal Blessing

At the sharing after the mass, Debbie Purfiled (our diocesan CAFOD coordinator) gave a summary of Pat’s involvement with CAFOD and mentioned how Pat not only “talked the talk but walked the walk”.  Debbie added, “Pat always did her best to make parishioners and students aware of the plight of those living in poverty and injustice.  Putting her faith into action is that which has inspired and encouraged others these 25 years.  On behalf of CAFOD and all those you have touched, thank you so so much.”  To show CAFOD’s appreciation, Debbie presented Pat with a Papal Blessing.

Pat thanks those present at her celebration


Pat too was keen to thank everyone and share her experience of being a CAFOD volunteer and how she enjoyed it thoroughly.




It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying themselves and Elizabeth Dinnage, one of the organisers together with Catri Plummer, said:  “It was a very happy occasion, which Pat enjoyed very much.”

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There was so much food left over as people were so generous in bringing food to share.  Elizabeth came up with a very innovative idea, “You are very welcome to take the left overs home and a donation will be welcomed”.  What did they received?  Nearly £83 and with the UK government doubling all donations till 12 May, this event not only celebrated Pat’s wonderful work over the years but raised £165 for CAFOD’s work!  Absolutely wonderful!!

Thank you to Pat, her family and all those who prepared and supported the event.  It was a really great day!

Inspired by Pat’s story? Find out more about volunteering opportunities with CAFOD,  contact us at northampton@cafod.org.uk, or call us on 01844 274 723


St Mary’s primary Dunstable “Gives it up” to help others

CAFOD schools’ volunteer, Kate, visited St. Mary’s Primary School in Caddington, Dunstable to thank the school for their support of the CAFOD Lent appeal.

CAFOD School volunteer Kate delivers the Lenten Assembly at St Mary’s Primary Dunstable

Despite being a relatively small school, with around 200 pupils, St. Mary’s raised an awesome total of more than £200 by running a non-uniform day to fundraise for CAFOD’s work in Zimbabwe.

This means that CAFOD will get over £400 as the government will double all donations until the 12 May 2018.

Kate introduced the staff, parents and students to Svondo from Zimbabwe, whose elder brother previously suffered from malnutrition, but whose family now has a thriving community garden to supply fresh food and surplus crops to sell.  Watch the video of Svondo:

Kate pointed out that the money St. Mary’s raised was enough to buy seeds to start 20 similar community gardens in other Zimbabwean villages.

 Headteacher, Stephen Chiswell, spoke proudly of the children’s efforts and how they engaged with the Lent campaign. 

Thank you, St. Mary’s, for ‘Giving it Up’ for CAFOD this Lent.  We look forward to coming into your school again in the summer term.

>>  Have your donations doubled until 12 May by clicking here



St Augustine High Wycombe raise awareness of hunger

We are delighted to hear that our relatively new CAFOD group at St Augustine’s High Wycombe, put on a “Rich man poor man” meal to raise not only funds for the CAFOD Lenten appeal, which will be doubled by the UK government, but awareness of the plight of those suffering hunger.

They were keen to extend the invitation to the entire pastoral area and their efforts were not in vain as people from neighbouring parishes attended the event as well as those from the parish.  Gerard Buffham, one of the CAFOD group members reports:

St Augustine High Wycombe CAFOD group welcomes diners

“Our Lady of Grace church, High Wycombe played host to the first St. Augustine’s CAFOD event; a Rich Man, Poor Man meal. The Team were waiting at the church entrance to welcome the diners, who each received a glass of non-alcoholic sangria (we didn’t want to spoil them at that stage) and an envelope.  The envelope contained a letter, either a ‘P’ or an ‘R’ – indicating ‘poor’ or ‘rich’.  When everyone was seated, the ‘poor’ were asked to identify themselves and then invited to come to the serving hatch at the kitchen for a meagre meal of beans and rice, fruit and water, whilst the ‘rich’ were waited on with plates of delicious stew, a creamy pudding and a variety of wines.

Our Master of Ceremonies, Rodney, explained that many millions of people, particularly children, go hungry every day, and many die through lack of food and drinkable water.

As in life, it seems, that our wellbeing is a lottery, so too, were the meals, and yet, the opportunity for the ‘Rich’ to give to the ‘Poor’ was there, and I’m glad to say that no one went away hungry, I even saw a glass of wine or two cross the table!


What meal awaits me?


Everyone enjoyed themselves and we raised money for CAFOD which, thanks to the UK Government, will be doubled. Most importantly however, we raised awareness of the plight of many starving people who, often through injustices, have been dealt a poor hand.  We want to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and try and build a more just world where the dignity of each person is respected.

Thanks to all our supporters and we look forward to seeing you at the next event. Anyone for skydiving?!”

A big thanks to the St Augustine High Wycombe CAFOD group who promoted the event, cooked the wonderful meal and helped on the day. Thanks to all who attended the event and supported CAFOD’s work.  We look forward to hearing what other exciting event you come up with next!

> Click here to donate to our Lenten appeal and have it doubled until 12 May 2018.