Fantastic Harvest Supporters’ Day at Woburn Sands

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:

Northampton Harvest Supporters’ Day – Woburn Sands

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.

Peter Haddon – CAFOD Education Volunteer

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 Nolan – Campaign volunteer

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.

> Interested in being a Campaigns Volunteer?  Click here

Jessica Michelmore (CAFOD Latin American team) shares her experience in Peru

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.

Oliver Larkin, Parish Volunteer – St Augustine Milton Keynes

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 GiftsParishioners 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!

Deborah Purfield – CAFOD Coordinator Northampton Diocese, welcomes volunteers

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.

> Click here for Harvest Fast Day resources and the short talk

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. ”

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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.

>> Click here for more information and to book a place


Outdoor Creation mass at St Teresa – Princes Risborough

St Teresa’s CAFOD group (Princes Risborough) organised an outdoor Creation Mass on 1 September – World day of prayer for Creation, in the presbytery garden.  The weather was perfect, with very little breeze and pleasant morning sunshine to entice the parishioners outside.

Creation mass at St Teresa – Princes Risborough

Father Joseph our parish priest, spoke of the beauty and abundance of God’s creation, reminding us how mankind is too often guilty of abusing or simply neglecting the natural world we have been gifted with.  He reminded us of the responsibility we all share to take care of our common home, both for ourselves and for future generations.

Fr Joseph celebrating the Creation mass

Surrounded as we were by nature’s beauty – the trees laden with ripening fruit, the birds singing from the hedgerow and soaring in the sky above us – this outdoor experience of our parish community sharing mass together was both uplifting and memorable.  After the mass, CAFOD’s Climate Change Quiz challenged the young and the young at heart and we enjoyed refreshments together.  This stimulated lively and thoughtful conversation around the theme of ‘Our Common Home’.  What a wonderful community spirit !

>  Click here for Creation prayer


Nurture God’s Creation Weekend at St Teresa Beconsfield

After hearing a talk at Lent Fast Day given by Deborah Purfield (CAFOD coordinator in the Northampton diocese) asking for volunteers at St Teresa’s Beaconsfield, several parishioners came forward offering to put their faith into action via CAFOD.  Thus a new CAFOD group was formed with the wonderful support of their parish priest Fr Sean Healy.  They have been so inspiring and innovative and have hit the ground running.

After having their first group meeting Sue Seagrave, parish volunteer, said “we can do the Creation mass in July and get the entire parish involved from the start!”  and so started the plans for their amazing Creation weekend.

>> For more information on how you can organise a creation mass click here

Sue writes :

“We had a very successful Creation Celebration weekend on 13 and 14 July which we themed as ‘Nurture God’s Creation’.  We gave CAFOD talks at the weekend Masses prior to the ‘Nurture God’s Creation’ weekend to prepare people and raise awareness on CAFOD’s Our Common Home Campaign. Our youngest CAFOD group member was a shining inspiration to his peers with a magnificent talk showing he is a true Zero Hero.

Parishioners were encouraged to bring a small floral gift to Church when celebrating Mass as a symbolic gesture of thanks to our Lord. Recycled from their own garden/wild ..weeds also welcomed!  These floral gifts where up-cycled into table decorations.

A ‘Nurture God’s Creation’ prayer card was designed by a parishioner and handed out to all entering church as a reminder to keep praying for Our Common Home.  Parishioners were also encouraged to sign a petition asking the PM to act quickly to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 at least

>>  Click here to sign our online petition

The Children’s Liturgy came up trumps we two large crosses which they made from recycled cardboard/paper clippings.  During the making of which the children got to talk about God’s gift of Creation and how precious animals, flowers, insects etc are.

Ed Gemmell, a parishioner and Climate Change Pilgrim, gave a very informed talk around NetZero and Climate Change explaining that we now have surpassed ‘Global Warming’ and now the thinking is we are at ‘Globally Hot’.

Ed also played the CAFOD children’s climate change video for the children & had a great chat with all the children on what happens in their schools to recycle & use less plastic. We had water games, croquet & skittles for the children as well as face painter’s painting animal on everyone willing. We had plenty of cats, butterflies and even a fox Zero Hero enjoying the day.

There was a lot of great discussion during the lunch and everyone really enjoyed themselves. It was great to introduce our new group and talk with people about CAFOD’s ongoing work across the globe. More senior attendees were encouraged to talk to their families about what recycling was done in years gone by before we had plastic. Younger people were encouraged to ask the adults how to recycle more and talk about our common home and effects of climate change.  Over 120 people attend this event and we raised over £573 for CAFOD’s work.”

Many thanks to everyone at St. Teresa’s Beaconsfield Parish who supported the event and those who helped make it a success in every way.  A special thanks to the CAFOD group who were just amazing in their efforts to raise awareness of the effects of climate change and how we can all do our part to help.  You are really such an inspiration!

>> Click here to see how you can take action