Students at St Thomas More Bedford reflect on the Big Fish story

Students at St Thomas More Bedford heard all about CAFOD’s Lenten appeal as Chaplain Helen Burgess writes :

St Thomas More (Bedford) Big Fish Theme

“Year 7 and 8 were busy working with the CAFOD Big Fish theme. As part of the Liturgy they created individual fish. Each fish was decorated with a Prayer or Lenten reflection. During the Liturgy as the students came forward to receive their Lenten Ash they also presented their fish as a sign of their own Lenten journey and commitment but also a reflection on the CAFOD Big Fish appeal. The students produced enough fish for two large school displays. “

Great to see the commitment of our young people!

>> Visit our website for our latest campaign resources on Power to Be

Reception class at Our Lady’s Chesham Bois goes “fishy”

CAFOD’s Margaret Wellington has been visiting Our Lady’s RC Primary in Chesham Bois.

Florence & her pal Bob the fish

Wendy King, the Reception Class teacher, invited Margaret to help the children learnt how CAFOD is helping people like Florence from Zambia make  living from fish farming.  CAFOD supplied her with the tools she needed to dig a pond and the little fish, like bob, that were put into the pond.  The class was very keen to find out how Florence used the money from the sale of the fish to make a living.

Margaret explained how Florence’s life was changed because she now had enough to feed her family and some left over which she could sell at the market to earn some money to enable her to go to school.

But it did not stop there.  When she had finished her training, Florence returned to her community and told her neighbours how they could all help with the farm and “Turn Little Fish into Big Fish”.

Our Lady (Chesham Bois)’s display

Everyone, children and staff alike, were engaged in making a display by colouring the tiny fish and writing words such as “love” and “care” on paper scales, before colouring and sticking them onto the big fish you see in the picture.

Thanks to Margaret our fab Education volunteer and to Our Lady’s for inviting CAFOD into the school.

Visit our website for fundraising ideas and prayers.


Education volunteers get briefed for Lent 2017

Education Volunteers’ training day for Lent17

The Northampton Diocese and Oxford Deaneries Team were delighted to meet at All Saints Church in Bletchley for a Lent Briefing and Training Day led by David Brinn (schools prog volunteer coordinator).

Jing and Sweet – partners from the Philippines

In Northampton Diocese, we have 7 volunteers who cover our 45 catholic schools. In Oxford we have 2 volunteers who cover the 12 schools.  We were delighted to have Sarah with us who is looking to volunteer in schools as well. Great to have you Sarah!  We were also joined by two of our partners from the Philippines, Sweet and Jing, who were hoping to set up such a programme in their country.


Margaret gives feedback

After a welcome and opening reflection concentrating on the 6 additional beatitudes introduced by Pope Francis in 2016, we had an icebreaker and then heard about our visit figures and feedback from the Autumn term.  This was was a very useful opportunity to share experiences of using the Autumn term assemblies and workshops with other volunteers.

At Harvest 2016, we visited 38% of schools which is above national average and a significant improvement over Harvest 2015 (16%). Oxford achieved an even better result with 41% of schools visited.

Catching fish

David introduced the materials “Turn little fish into BIG fish” for the Secondary Lent Fast Day Workshop and, in the afternoon, the Primary Lent Fast Day Assembly.  Both sessions were an ideal chance to explore and share ideas for their use.  It was great to have Kate’s son help with catching fish!

There was also opportunity to go through the workshop of “being a project manager” where we discussed what projects to support  given limited resources.  This really made us think how difficult it is when there is so much worth projects but funds are limited.

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The day ended with an overview of the CAFOD schools team. All found the day very useful and inspirational and “we can’t wait to get going”.

Sweet and Jing were thrilled to have been there saying, “It was great to meet some of the volunteers and to hear what they do to inspire schools. We hope to set up a similar programme soon.  Thank you so much for having invited us.”

To volunteer in schools or find out more, please visit our website or get in touch with Deborah Purfield 01844 274 723 or

Written by Ged Nolan – Education volunteer