Celebrating 25 years of “quiet” volunteering

To help tackle poverty and injustice in our world, CAFOD relies on volunteers in England and Wales who, inspired by their faith, put it into action and pray, fundraise and campaign to bring about change.

Maggie Osgathorpe with her Papal Blessing

One such volunteer is Maggie Osgathorp from All Saints parish in Bletchley who has been a parish volunteer with CAFOD for 25 years!  Congratulations Maggie!

In all that time, Maggie has been involved with many CAFOD campaigns and fundraising events.  Apart from the two fast days, Maggie organises other fundraising events in the parish.

Maggie and her “one pound shop” – CAFOD fundraiser

Together with a team she holds monthly coffee mornings in the parish after mass and has a “one pound shop” when she has accumulated enough of “unwanted” items from parishioners to sell.  These have raised amazing amounts for CAFOD.  The latest “one pound shop” brought in over £80!  She also organises quiz nights which raises a lot of money for CAFOD and which is enjoyed by all who attend.

When asked what kind of person Maggie is, most would say she is “so quiet and gentle, not liking to be in the limelight.  She is always seen doing something in the parish to raise awareness”.

Maggie not quite taking in that she was being thanked

Fr Chris presents Maggie with the Papal Blessing

So, when unbeknown to Maggie, Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) and Fr Chris (parish priest), presented Maggie with a Papal blessing of thanks at the end of Sunday mass, she was so surprised and overcome.  The big applaud which followed left Maggie speechless!

Debbie and Fr Chris presenting Maggie with a Papal Blessing for 25 years of volunteering for CAFOD

Fr Chris said, “you have put on so many coffee mornings and today, you can enjoy others putting it on.”  Many parishioners came forward to congratulate Maggie as well, to show how much they valued what she had done.

The following day Maggie was still taking it all in and said, “Thank you all so much for the Papal Blessing..  I am still so overwhelmed”.

Thank you so much Maggie for your years of support.  In your gentle and quiet way, you have been a massive inspiration to all around you and a wonderful sign of how to put faith into action!  You have helped transform the lives of many!

If you would like to be a parish volunteer or get involved in CAFOD’s work, do get in touch Northampton@cafod.org.uk or call 01844 274 723.


Memorial Mass at St Francis of Assisi – Shefford 2017

CAFOD Memorial mass 2017 celebrated at St Francis of Assisi – Shefford

CAFOD is immensely blessed by the generosity and dedication of our volunteers and supporters.  Many of these wonderful people have passed away over the years. Our Memorial Masses are one way we like to pay tribute to them and mark our appreciation for their years of support and kindness.

We often speak to families who have chosen to support our work in memory of a relative or a friend.  By making such a special gift, families, neighbours, colleagues or pupils feel they are remembering their loved one in a positive, far-reaching and life-changing way.

>>  See our Remembrance Giving page for more information.

Jenny Hyde, Eileen Devereux , Anne Tasker and Margaret Rees – memorial mass organisers

Fr Bennie with Eileen Devereux (UCM)

Northampton Diocese celebrated our 2017 memorial mass at St Francis of Assisi – Shefford on the 26 November.  Parish priest, Fr Bennie Noonan was delighted to say the mass and with the support of Parish volunteer Jenny Hyde and the Union of Catholic Mother (UCM) the celebration went off so well.

Northampton Diocese Book of Remembrance

The names of deceased supporters and volunteers are collected each year in our Book of Remembrance and this was taken up by Alban Macdonald, parish volunteer at St Peter’s Biggleswade.  This showed how we are all one family working together for a common goal.. to eradicate poverty and injustice in our world! 

Alban noted, “Fr Bennie spoke passionately about CAFOD’s work and remembered all the dearly beloved who supported CAFOD’s work in their life.  He explained how Bishop Hugh Grant (from our diocese) was instrumental in getting CAFOD/Caritas off the ground in the UK and in Rome.”

After the mass, the UCM organised a scrumptious coffe/tea and cake session in the parish meeting room which everyone who attended enjoyed immensely!

Refreshments enjoyed by our children too!

Refreshments after Memorial mass

Jenny very thoughtfully brought a photo of a framed Obituary of Elspeth Orchard.  Elspeth was one of the original UCM members (UCM diocesan president) who helped formed the group that eventually became CAFOD.   Jenny said, “I found a picture of Elsbeth Orchard so shared some happy stories about that.  It was a very friendly affair.”

>> Find out more about how about how CAFOD began here

All hear about Elspeth Orchard, one of the founding CAFOD members

A massive thank you to Jenny Hyde and the UCM as well as to Fr Bennie for celebrating our CAFOD memorial mass 2017 at St Francis.  Supporters and Volunteers who could not attend were with you in spirit.

The Lampedusa cross at St Mary’s – Dunstable

Schools across the diocese continue to reflect upon the plight of refugees around the world.  The Lampedusa Cross (which CAFOD obtained and gave every Cathedral in England and Wales to display) is a wonderful symbol of solidarity and hope with refugees. The crosses are the work of a local carpenter, who moved by the many stories of death and loss made them out of the wreckage of the boats and gave them to the refugees as a symbol of hope.

Find out more about the Refugee Crisis and how CAFOD is responding >>

The Northampton Diocese Lampedusa Cross


In our diocese, the cross is journeying through schools and parishes. The latest school to welcome the cross was St Mary’s – Dunstable.

Last week,  the children from the Liturgy and First Holy Communion groups presented the cross at the beginning of Mass.  They then reflected upon the symbolism of the cross as the gateway to freedom and the openness of the Lampedeusa people towards refugees. The children also wrote their messages of hope, which are displayed on a poster.


Isabella read the story of the cross to the congregation. It was very moving.


Isabelle explains the story of the Lampedusa Cross

The children  also sang this song, especially composed for the occasion:

Lampedousa (clap clap clap) x2
Makes crosses out of wood
Crosses from the shipwreck
To try and bring some good (clap clap clap)
For all those who perished
Beneath the fearsome waves
Crosses in their memory
And crosses for the saved
Lampedusa (clap clap clap) x2
What an amazing place
Showing us how we can
Grow stronger in our faith (clap clap clap)
(Shout) FAITH and raise arms high

After Mass, Isabella took the cross to Cardinal Newman School – Luton where she will be holding a series of assemblies.

If you would like to host the Lampedusa Cross in your parish for a time and hold a pilgrimage event, then please email Deborah Purfield at the CAFOD office at northampton@cafod.org.uk