CAFOD group at St Martin de Porres Luton step up for Lent Fast Day

Since the new CAFOD group was set up at St Martin de Porres – Luton in September 2018, they have been fired up to get going in promoting CAFOD’s work in the parish.  In December they promoted World Gifts and even managed to encourage a few more to join the group!

For this Lent Fast day they pulled out all the stops!  Some of the group like parish volunteer Clara attended the Supporters’ day and was so inspired by what she heard and experienced that she discussed her ideas with Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator), the group and Fr Simon (parish priest).  What they came up with was just amazing!

St Martin de Porres display – CAFOD Lent Fast Day 2019

When parishioners entered the narthex, they couldn’t miss the wonderful display of CAFOD materials and posters.

Before mass, the following video (based on 1 Corthinians 13) was shown.  It focused people from the start and provided a reflective space.


At the homily slot, Fr Simon gave a short and poignant homily about reaching out to our neighbours which included our global neighbours and how this could be done through CAFOD.

CAFOD group member giving the short talk

This was then followed by the video of Mahinur from Bangladesh which really made real the life this amazing woman is having to lead.   Group members then gave the short talk.

One of whom was Reena from the Philippines. She was very moved by Mahinur’s story as understood the some of the challenges that Mahinur was going through from her own experience of facing devastation in the Philippines.  She ended by saying, “I feel so blessed to be in England”.  Fr Simon thanked her for having the courage to share her life.


Clara (parish volunteer) said, “There was a lot of compassion on the faces of the parishioners and a feeling of solidarity.  I feel most people were able to identify with Mahinur’s story and I believe that our support of CAFOD’s work will draw us to living out more our Gospel values.”


There were not enough envelopes to go round for the final mass which has not happened before!  A very good sign of how some simple steps have made such a difference to the Fast Day experience.  More will distribute this coming week.

Thanks to St Martin de Porres parish for their support.  A special thanks to Fr Simon who was so helpful and encouraging to the CAFOD group.  A massive THANK YOU to the fantastic CAFOD group who have done an incredible job this Lent Fast day in standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are living in poverty.  You are all an inspiration!

> To see how you can get involved this Fast day, go to our website


Great Lent Supporters’ day in Olney – 23 Feb 2019

On Saturday 23 February over 36 CAFOD volunteers and supporters got together at Our Lady Help of Christians’ hall in Olney for the second Supporter’s Day in the run up to Lent in the Diocese of Northampton.  Maggie Osgathorp – Parish volunteer coordinator for Milton Keynes writes:

CAFOD volunteers and Supporters at the Lent gathering in Olney

There was a very varied programme – Debbie (CAFOD coordinator) gave an overview of where CAFOD is to date.  We were reminded of how CAFOD has its global Catholic network and local presence because it is a member of Caritas Internationalis – the second largest humanitarian network in the world operating in 165 countries!  Hence the ‘rebranding’ of the logo, giving Caritas more prominence.

It was sad to learn that CAFOD currently cannot meet 1 in 3 documented requests for support from some of the poorest communities. These are projects that could be reached and would be supported if there were the funds.  This is what CAFOD hopes to achieve with the ambition of No One Beyond Reach.

Watch this short video on No One Beyond Reach :

A very evocative video of Mahinur from Bangladesh was shown as it is the Lent 2019 Fast day focus story.  Mahinur is the 1 in 3!  It was agreed that it would be a valuable addition to the Lenten appeal at mass for those parishes with the facilities to show it.

Matthew Carter – Head of CAFOD emergency – shares his experiences

The key note speaker was Matthew Carter  –  Director of Emergencies for CAFOD.  Matthew gave a very interesting and insightful view into just how much CAFOD is involved all over the world at times of disaster, famine and war.  CAFOD (in partnership with Caritas) has been at the heart of catastrophes in the Yemen, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Venezuela, the Rohingya crisis list just a few.  The work that CAFOD does is truly remarkable.

 >> Click here to find out more about our emergency work

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I was asked by Debbie to deliver a quiz which tested our knowledge of CAFOD and its work – it was surprising what some ‘old hands’ like me did not know about CAFOD!  People seemed to find it very useful and some planned to do it in their parishes.  People found this a fun way of learning more about CAFOD’s work and several are hoping to use it in their parishes over Lent.

We concluded with a shared lunch which gave us the opportunity to chat and get to know other parishioners and volunteers – a very interesting and informative day! “

Thank you to Maggie for helping to organise the day with the other area coordinators as well as to Our Lady Help of Christians for allowing us to use their facilities.  Together we can realise our ambition that no one should be beyond our reach.

>  For more fundraising ideas click here


Delicious soup lunch at St Anthony’s in Slough

St Anthony’s parish and St Anthony’s School in Slough jointly organised a very successful CAFOD soup lunch on Friday 16 March . The school staff prepared a mouth-watering variety of delicious soups and breads, thoroughly enjoyed by the parents, staff and parishioners who came to support the event.

On the menu there was: Spicy Lentil Soup, Carrot and Coriander, Potato and Leek and Polish vegetable and Rice Soup. As the old Portuguese proverb goes: “for each mouth, a different soup”. It really felt that the diversity of food was a celebration of the characteristic diversity of the parish and the school.

Moneys are still coming in but once these have all been counted they will be donated to CAFOD.

Thank you so much St Anthony parish and school for all you do to support CAFOD’s work!  Great to see such community spirit!

>  You can donate to our Lenten Appeal and have your donations doubled by the UK government.