With Harvest Fast Day approaching on 7 October, CAFOD held two local gatherings of CAFOD volunteers, to share experiences and learn more about the organisation. The first one was held at Beaconsfield on the 17 September. The second one was held on the 24 September at Ss Francis & Therese’s Hall, East Hunsbury, Northampton.
Over 28 CAFOD supporters from 14 parishes across the Northampton Diocese attended this Supporters’ Day and some came all the way from south of the diocese (Gerrard’s Cross, Chesham Bois and Princes Risborough). Monica from Chesham Bois said, “I was so delighted to be able to attend because I had a lift from another volunteer. As he gave several of us a lift, we had time to chat in the car and get to know each other and now I feel more supported in my role as parish volunteer”.
We were privileged to hear from Geoff O’Donghue (Operations Director) who talked about the overall impact of CAFOD’s work and how that has made significant impact on people’s lives over the years. He stress how we were all partners and that there was a need to listen to those whose lives we were involved with. He also stressed the need of prayer in our work which really put into perspective all CAFOD does.
We then heard about CAFOD’s work in Bolivia (the focus country for Harvest Fast Day) by Debbie Prufield (CAFOD coordinator).
Debbie also introduced us to Hand On Altiplano, a regular giving scheme for individuals. We went through the Harvest resources and were given suggestions of how to reach out and promote fast days in our parishes as well as how to encourage more people to volunteer. There are a variety of volunteering roles in CAFOD to suite various lifestyles and skills even within the parish. Santi Trillo (CAFOD volunteer) gave input about speaking at mass.
Over the break, we managed to chat to other volunteers and it was great to hear what they did in their parishes. Mick from Woburn Sands said, “I am a new volunteers and it was really good to chat to others about what goes on in their parish. I’ve taken some contact details and will be getting in touch with them over the next few weeks”.
There were lots of resources for us to take too. We were blessed to have the Lampedusa cross with us before it made its way to John Henry Newman parish. A very real sign of Solidarity especially when we heard about the latest news on the refugee crisis which was really thought provoking. It was really good to hear of progress since 1990 :
- Child Mortality halved: (90 to 43 / 1,000)
- Primary Educ: 53% – 80% Sub-Saharan Africa
- Undernourished halved: 23% – 13%
- Extreme Poverty – 1.9bn to 836m
We were encouraged to get involved in the Speak up week of action to show our MPs what we care about and ask them to support the transition from polluting fossil fuels to sustainable energy for all.
We had time for discussion as a group. A number of volunteers commented that in addition to hearing from wonderful speakers most “also benefited from learning about the various and innovative activities in other parishes which include spiritual needs, the power of prayer, campaigning, living a simple life rather than just fund raising”.
Most people left with a commitment of what they would do personally as a result of attending the meeting. Some said they would look at LiveSimply in 2017, others said they felt inspired to look at ideas with their local group and will want to highlight Gift Aid in their parish and still others felt motivated to get new people involved. A fantastic response!
If you couldn’t join us this either of the supporters’ day, do watch this video to see what a difference your regular giving can make.
Don’t forget to join us online on Fast Day itself (7 Oct) and hear from Nikki Evans, Programme Officer for Bolivia. There is a webinar at lunchtime : webinar at 1pm – 2pm:
Thanks Ss Francis & Therese for hosting the event and well done to all who have promoted CAFOD’s work in their parishes. We could not do our great work without you! Thank you so much!
Written by Ged Nolan