Alistair Burt MP “Shares the Journey” with CAFOD volunteers

CAFOD, Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) have worked together to stage the exhibition, which opened on 5 December at the Palace of Westminster.  The exhibition demonstrates the work of the Catholic community and the three agencies in supporting refugees, both at home and overseas.Alban MacdonaId, an MP correspondent who was present at the exhibition writes:

Alistair Burt (MP) and Alban Macdonald at the Share the Journey exhibition in Westminster Palace

“I was honoured that my MP Alistair Burt, ( also Minister of Sate for International Development) should take time out of his busy Ministerial scheduled to meet me in Parliament and visit the CAFOD Share the Journey display.

Alistair Burt MP looking at messages of hope and welcome

The displays articulate the Roman Catholic response to the Refugee Crisis at home and across the world and how we are offering messages of hope and support to displaced people. I felt Alistair is really grounded and switched on to the Refugee issues and seemed impressed with our response too.  I hope to follow up this meeting by writing to Alistair and asking him to take specific actions to help further this cause.

Alban hands over the Power to Be petition cards to Alistair Burt MP

I also took the opportunity to outline briefly CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign which seeks to influence the World Bank to increase the amount of funding investment for small rural power sustainable energy. These rural areas are where the poorest people of the world live and so the benefits of having safe and renewable electricity can have the greatest impact there.  This will give these people a “jump start” out of the poverty trap.

> Sign CAFOD’s petition to the World Bank

Alban shares with Alistair Burt MP

I explained that I had recently spoken in my parish of St Peter’s Church in Biggleswade, – where Alistair’s regional office is located – and the people from the parish overwhelmingly supported this campaign; most of whom are Alistair’s constituents.  I was delighted that Alistair offered to take one letter (from over 160 letters I had with me) from one his constituents Mrs Catherine Spencer, addressed to Melanie Robinson (UK’s Executive Director to the World Bank).  Alistair promised to give it to her personally and ask her to respond to him as to why the World Bank should not adopt CAFOD’s proposals in this campaign.”

Thank you Alban and we look forward to hearing feedback back from you and await with baited breath to hear Alistair’ response from the World Bank.

Our new Campaign coordinator – Ged Nolan

Ged Nolan is one of our amazing volunteers who has been a wonderful example of how to put one’s faith into action. Seeking a new purpose after retirement, Ged was inspired by CAFOD’s commitment to work with people who devote their lives to defending the rights of the poorest and most marginalised around the world.

Ged Nolan – a Volunteer with many hats!

Ged felt that his experienced in working with and providing aid to many people in Africa and Asia would come in handy.

Ged with other School volunteers at a training day

Ged came forward to volunteer for CAFOD as an Educational Volunteer in April 2015 when he saw it advertised in the parish newsletter.  He now visits local catholic schools, where he carries out assemblies and workshops. He has promoted CAFOD’s campaigns, such as ‘Power To Be‘, ‘Speak up for CAFOD‘ and the ‘Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage‘.

For Ged, the inclusion of young people into CAFOD’s work is vital to ensure that CAFOD’s mission and values carry on.

Ged in is office volunteer role

In late 2015, Ged offered to work in the volunteer centre as an office volunteer wanting to give more time to the cause he believed in so much.

Then in 2016, Ged agreed to be the Parish contact at his parish of St Joseph’s (Gerrads Cross).  Through this and his other roles, Ged was starting to get more familiar with CAFOD’s work and enjoyed liaising with other volunteers so stepping into the role of Area coordinator for the SE Bucks Pastoral area was an easy transition.

Ged having coordinator training from the campaigns team

In May 2017 he took on the role and hit the ground running.  He also signed up to be an MP correspondent! In July 2017 Ged allowed his arm to be twisted to take on the role of Campaign Coordinator for the Northampton Diocese as he was already doing that role to a small extent.

>> Find out about volunteering for CAFOD

 

Ged said he accepted this role because:

Ged supporting CAFOD campaign Power to Be

 

“ I am passionate about having the opportunity to stimulate, grow and help the existing and potential Campaign Volunteers.  Volunteers play a vital role in helping to change the root causes of injustice which keep our brothers and sisters living in poverty.  With their support we can help fight inequality and injustice”.

 

 

In his new role, Ged will be working closely with current campaign volunteers as well as those keen to support CAFOD campaigns in other ways. He will also network with parishes and other organisations to help maximise the impact of CAFOD campaigns.

Ged gives a talk about CAFOD’s work

Energising and training current volunteers, as well as enthusing people to join our campaigns will be another major aspect of Ged’s new role.

It is clear that Ged is motivated from the heart to help others. Once you have met Ged, it is impossible not to be moved by his compassion towards those around him, as well as his tremendous generosity in terms of time and effort.  He is always ready to lend a hand and has warmed himself to those whom he works with by his gentleness and good sense of humour.

Thank you Ged for all you do. You are a great example of the true spirit of CAFOD’s volunteers!

>> Fine out how you can volunteer for CAFOD

 

One of our Longest standing Volunteers

CAFOD has wonderful volunteers and one such person is 83 year old Agnes Milne from St Mary’s parish Dunstable.  Isabelle (a fellow volunteer) writes about Agnes :

Agnes Milne

With a strong passion for Africa, Agnes Milne embarked on her journey to Uganda before CAFOD actually began. In Uganda, as a Geography teacher with young Christian students, she enjoyed being a part of the Overseas development. Word of a Catholic movement to help improve conditions for those who live in poverty overseas sparked Agnes’ initial interest.

Agnes got involved with CAFOD in its early days and has been a strong force in getting the voice of the voiceless heard. Knowing that campaigning can tackle the root causes of poverty, Agnes has been involved in many campaigns such as the Jubilee 2000 petition, calling for an end to the crippling debt facing many of the world’s poorest countries.  This succeeded in cancelling US$110 billion worth of debt owed by poor countries!  She was also involved with the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005 and many others.

Agnes campaigning at Westminster with her family

The decision to volunteer was “the cheerfulness and the wonderful reception” she received from CAFOD and how “the volunteers were so committed and dedicated in their role.”  What stood out for Agnes as a portrayal of CAFOD’s work was the fact that they “work in partnership and direct the money to where it is needed most which empowers and brings great joy to the community to help them out of poverty.”

Agnes has been a long-standing parishioner of St Mary’s in Dunstable and involved in many aspects of parish life. She is a campaigner and MP Correspondent as well as the parish volunteer for CAFOD.  She sits on the Justice and Peace commission for the diocese.

Agnes is often seen encouraging others to be involved and this has led to youth and Brownies fund-raisers with young people giving the fast day talk in the parish and attending the Supporters’ day.

Thank you Agnes for all you have done and continue to do to support CAFOD’s work. You are a shining example to us all !

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