Bishop Peter shows solidarity with the World’s poorest

When Debbie Purfield met up with Bishop Peter Doyle for a catch up on CAFOD work in the diocese, she was keen for Bishop Peter to hear about the latest campaign – Power to Be calling on the World Bank to ensure renewable energy access for the world’s poorest people..

Bishop Peter Doyle signs the Power to be Petition

Bishop Peter was keen to support the campaign and signed a petition there and then to show his solidarity.

>> Sign our online petition

Bishop Peter also heard how several parishes like St Edward (Milton Keynes) and Sacred Heart (Leighton Buzzard) had invited their MP during the week of action to let them know about these issues and they held a card signing in their parishes as well.  Some like St Teresa (Princes Risborough) held a talk during the week of action while others are planning to hold the card signing later on in the year.

With the many changes taking place in the diocese over the coming months, it was good to hear how parishes were still keen to stand in solidarity with those living in poverty and take action.

Bishop Peter Doyle shows his solidarity of those living in poverty

 Bishop Peter said, “Thank you CAFOD for your untiring work of raising awareness of and supporting our brothers and sisters living in poverty through engagement in parishes and schools in our diocese. You do wonderful work and I am very grateful for all you do.”


>>  Find out more about what CAFOD does and how you can volunteer for CAFOD.


“Faith in Action” day at St Paul’s School

CAFOD Education volunteers Ged Nolan and Cathy Stormonth were excited to be attending the St Paul’s School Faith in Action Day with students from other Catholic secondary schools – Thornton College, St Thomas Becket, St Thomas More and Cardinal Newman and guests from Pax Christi, The Columbans, Young Christian Workers, Northampton Youth Ministry Office and of course CAFOD!

Ged and Cathy with Bishop Peter at the CAFOD stall

An exhibition stand was set up with all the latest information from CAFOD including information about CAFOD’s work using our Learning hub, the ‘Power to be’ campaign, how to run a Lampedusa Cross refugee pilgrimage, some general fundraising ideas and specific fundraising for Autumn Harvest and Christmas World Gifts and lots on Climate Change and about Pope Francis’ message to everyone – Laudato Si’.

Bishop Peter addresses delegates at Faith In Action day – St Paul’s School MK

The ‘Faith in Action’ day was opened by the Northampton Youth Ministry with a reading, prayer and time for reflection. Bishop Peter, who was in attendance, greeted everyone and was promptly asked some searching questions by the Youth Worker about why he was there and what he hoped to achieve that day? The interviewer also asked the students the same questions with much hilarity when students gave some frank answers such as ‘I’m attending because I’m missing lessons at school!’

Ged Nolan – CAFOD stall

The CAFOD stand attracted students who browsed the resources and took some away. Ged and Cathy were able to talk to students and give them some ideas about community service and fundraising.

The students left to go to their class-based ‘Faith in Action’ sessions and this left the teachers, other staff, Bishop Peter and Fr Tony Brennan for the ’Professionals in Attendance’ session with CAFOD. Ged gave some tips for the ‘Faith in Action Award’ and also explained how well the Power to be assemblies and workshops were going as schools wanted to learn more about the importance of sustainable and safe energy.  They described how having access renewable energy, solar panels, in a town in Kenya has helped transformed the lives of the community.  Children have the chance of a better education as they are able to study for longer periods and are empowered to realise their dreams and ambitions.  All agreed that they wanted to explore this powerful campaign further and adapt it to their schools’ needs.

>> Sign our Power to Be campaign petition

A discussion about the importance of Laudato Si’ ensued and the ongoing refugee crisis.  It was a useful discussion and it was clear that all schools attending wanted to work with CAFOD next year and praised the high quality of CAFOD resources.  Cathy and Ged were very pleased to hear this and are looking forward to working with schools in the year ahead.

A big thank you to St Paul’s for inviting CAFOD to be part of the “Faith in Action” day and to Schools’ volunteers Cathy and Ged for supporting the day and raising the plight of those living in poverty.

If you are interested in being a schools’ volunteer please get in touch


Inspiring Lent 2017 Supporters’ meeting at Gerrards Cross

Lent Supporters' day 2017 at Gerrards Cross

Lent Supporters’ day 2017 at Gerrards Cross

In preparation for the Lent Fast Day on 10 March,  40 volunteers and supporters from over 15 parishes in the Northampton Diocese attended the Supporters’ day held at St Joseph’s Parish Centre, Gerrard’s Cross on 18 February 2017.  A similar session took place at St Martin de Porres in Luton on 4 February.  Rose (new parish volunteer from Luton) said, “I had never been to such days before but really got so much out of the day that I felt I had to attend the next one too!”

New CAFOD group at St Augustine - High Wycombe

New CAFOD group at St Augustine – High Wycombe

These meetings are a wonderful opportunity for new volunteers to meet others from their parish and pastoral area and a chance for all to build friendships and ask for /offer support to others.  We were also fortunate to have a Fairtrade Stall set up by the parish.

Ged Nolan, CAFOD volunteer, reports on the day :

“Deborah Purfield, Coordinator for CAFOD Northampton, welcomed supporters and the day started with the group settling down to a reflective opening prayer focusing on the Beatitudes and how they matched CAFOD’s vision and values. In particular, Debbie concentrated on the six “additional” Beatitudes, put forward by Pope Francis on All Saints Day in 2016, to “ recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy.”

Ulrike Beck, CAFOD’s Programme Officer - Colombia

Ulrike Beck, CAFOD’s Prog. Officer – Colombia

Following a very positive thank you message from Bishop Peter, we heard from Ulrike Beck, CAFOD’s Programme Officer for Colombia, who led a discussion on Partnership which applies not only with communities in Colombia but other parts of the Globe.  She focused on 4 aspects of the work in Colombia :

  1. Natural resource Management – to empower communities in rural areas in the Andes region to achieve fair access to and control of natural resources, particularly water, land and territory in the context of mega-projects and climate change.
  2. Alternative models of Urban and Rural developmentto support vulnerable groups in both communities to achieve risk resilience, food sovereignty, equality and well-being in the context of climate change.
  3. Human Rights and Governanceto promote the integral defence of human rights of vulnerable groups and promote political participation, good governance and civil society space.
  4. Conflict Transformation and Peace Buildingto strengthen civil society organisations and communities to address and transform armed conflicts and other types of violence so they can bring about a just peace and tolerant and inclusive societies, incorporating a gender and territorial perspective.

We left a great number of messages of friendship and solidarity to be sent to our friends in Colombia as well as pictures from the day so that they know they are in our thoughts and prayers.

CAFOD's work in Zambia

CAFOD’s work in Zambia

Debbie then gave an update on donations received from Harvest 2016 and beyond. After the break (where we had time to chat to others and share ideas) we heard about CAFOD’s work in Zambia, this Lent Fast Day focus country.  Debbie spoke enthusiastically about Sister Yvonne and the Households in Distress programme in Mbala, Zambia. The programme has helped people like Florence to become self-sufficient by running their own artisanal businesses such as fish farming and bee keeping.  These projects have transformed the lives of people in some the world’s poorest communities.  The short video about Florence’s fish farming was shown and was much appreciated by all. There is also a detailed video about CAFOD’s work in Zambia which gives more information.  Debbie also mentioned about promoting campaigns outside Fast Day times and encouraged all to sign up to be MP correspondents

Discussion groups

St Aidan’s discussion group

Discussion time

Reflecting and Sharing

The group split up into smaller discussion groups and it was evident that supporters were very keen to work more closely with adjoining parishes and schools to share ideas and co-ordinate fundraising, education and campaigning activities. There is a great A-Z of fundraising ideas for Lent which seemed to interest those who wanted to do something different.

Nan & Maura do a fantastic job with refreshments!

Nan & Maura doing a fantastic job with refreshments!

Shared Lunch

Enjoying a scrumptious shared Lunch

The day concluded with a reflection from Sr Yvonne and we all said the fast day prayer together.  Many were able to stay for the delicious shared lunch and more discussions took place.  Cilla’s (volunteer – St Andrew’s Cippenham) and Monica’s (volunteer – Our Lady’s Chesham Bois) comments seem to reflect the general feeling from the day, “it was a wonderful, well-organised, stimulating, inspiring and encouraging day. I feel like going out and doing so much more now!  Thanks so much”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer/parish contact please get in touch or call 01844 274 723.