Over 35 CAFOD volunteers and supporters from 21 parishes (mostly in the north of the Diocese of Northampton) joined in the CAFOD Supporter’s Day in St Mary’s Woburn Sands on Saturday 7 September. Maggie Osgathorp, Parish Volunteer coordinator – Milton Keynes writes:
What an exhilarating day! Debbie Purfield, our CAFOD coordinator for the diocese, opened the day with a welcome and prayer. The day was packed with very interesting and engaging topics from various people.
Education Volunteer, Peter Haddon, shared with us what inspired him to volunteer in schools and how fulfilling it was. “Children and young people are passionate about Justice and Peace issues and it is great to be able to raise awareness of it and witness how they want to do more”. He was very grateful to the schools in Luton (which he is linked to) for the welcome he has received and was delighted to be able to accompany some student to the Lobby in London.
Ged, our campaigns coordinator, spoke about the value of campaigning and our voices and choices can make a real change. He mentioned about the success of the London march on 26 June on climate change and gave examples of the very successful Creation Masses held in many parishes with so many parishioners signing the petition to the Prime Minister re Climate change. He also urged us to take forward Bishop Peter’s encouragement to be a LiveSimply parish.
Our Main speaker, Jessica Michelmore (CAFOD Latin American team), shared her experience from a visit to Peru where she witnessed first-hand the work of our partner organisation Warmi Huasi. Peru faces a range of challenges – deforestation and mining have a dramatic effect on the environment. Overpopulation of the slum areas, water pollution, poor infrastructure, the constant threat of flood and landslide, glaciers melting at a rapid pace are but some of the problems Peru faces. Jessica mentioned how our partner organisation is helping children to stand up for their rights and to engage successfully, even at a very young age, with those in authority. They are also being provided with ‘safe spaces’ essential in an area where children and young people are so vulnerable.
The quiz which followed after the break enabled us to see how we each used water. It was obvious from the outcome that we could all be more careful in our own homes as to how we use this precious resource.
Parish volunteer, Oliver Larkin (from St Augustine – Milton Keynes), shared what inspired him to become a CAFOD volunteer. He said, “After Debbie asked for volunteers, I felt I had to put my faith into action in this way. It amounted to righteous anger – why should we have so much whilst others had so little?” His parish has since formed a CAFOD group which has been involved with fundraising, prayer and campaigning. Currently, they are making a Virtual Village from CAFOD’s World Gifts. Parishioners can see at a glance how their contributions are supporting our brothers and sisters in developing countries. A major contribution to this village was from the First Communicants who donated a total of about £1700 to ‘their’ village! Fantastic!
Debbie gave an update from Lent 2019 and we were all thrilled to hear how CAFOD has supported Mahinur and her community. We heard all about this Harvest Fast Day, with the focus country being Unganda. We were keen to inspire our communities with what we heard.
We had time for group discussion and ended the day with a prayer and shared lunch. Several people mentioned how they would take forward ideas they had heard. One even said she would sign up to be an education volunteer after attending the day! We all came away totally inspired. ”
A BIG Thank you to all who attended the day and especially to those who helped in one way or another! You are all wonderful and it was a really inspiring day!
There is another Harvest Supporter’s day being held in Beaconsfield for those in the south of the diocese on 21 September from 10:15am – 1:30pm followed by a shared lunch.