St Teresa Princes Risborough Speaks up during Week of action

Parishioners at St Teresa (Princes Risborough) speak up about energy access for the world’s poorest

Parishioners at St Teresa (Princes Risborough) were keen to learn more and Speak Up on climate change and renewable energy to their newly elected MP John Bercow. Unfortunately, he was unable to join the event on 4 July owing to other commitments that day. But the group were reassured that he regularly raises these matters with Government Ministers on behalf of his constituents and will continue to do so.

Nothing like cake and a cuppa to start off with

The session kicked off with an enjoyable cuppa and cake provided by the CAFOD group.  We then heard from Ged Nolan (Campaigns volunteer coordinator for the diocese) about the campaign Power to be and what the week of action was about.

The group were shocked to hear that 1 in 6 people in the world have no access to electricity with 3 billion lacking clean and safe energy for household cooking.  To learn that only 3% of the World Bank energy spending goes towards local, renewable energy and clean cooking was very alarming!

Ged Nolan talks about the Power to Be campaign

Parishioners hear about the campaign Power to Be


We heard what a huge difference safe, reliable, renewable, affordable and accessible energy (eg solar panels) is already making to the lives of those living in poverty by improving education, health, farming and business.

>> Find out more about the Power to be Campaign

Matching the stats to the statement

Hearing about the shocking statistics

There was a great buzz in the room with people sharing their thoughts and wanting to see change. Veronica said, “We want to see the World bank spending more of their energy budget helping those in poverty via renewable energy and not fossil fuels.  I shall be adding my voice to the campaign”.

After the closing prayer, we added our messages to the display with people keen to share their thoughts and wishes.

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Marie Pennell (Parish contact) will be getting in touch with John Bercow to let him know the outcomes of the event to ensure that the concerns of the world’s poorest are one of the first things on his agenda. She added, “It was a very insightful session and all are now more aware of the plight of our brothers and sisters living in poverty without electricity.  We will be calling on Melanie Robinson (UK Executive director at the World Bank) to use her influence to ensure the Bank invests in renewable energy for poor communities”.

The parish will take part in the card signing over the next few weeks.

Messages from parishioners at St Teresa (Princes Risborough)

Thanks to the CAFOD group at St Teresa for organising the event and for all who attended it. A special thanks to Ged for giving the presentation.

> Do sign the online petition and share it with others


An inspirational update from Myanmar

We were thrilled to have Julian Pinzon Godoy, CAFOD’s Programme Officer for Myanmar (formerly Burma), visit St Teresa’s parish in Princes Risborough on 6 June 2017 to give us an update of CAFOD’s work there while in the UK.

Julian with friend James having their first cuppa in the UK

Ged (office Volunteer) explains about the Northampton Diocese to Julian

Julian visited the CAFOD volunteer centre first and was delighted to meet up with Debbie Purfield (Coordinator – Northampton diocese) and the office volunteers.  Ged Nolan explained a little about the diocese which fascinated Julian.  We were also pleased to have Julian’s friend, James, who accompanied him for the visit.

Cake and tea – a lovely start to the evening

What better way to start the evening than to enjoy a chat over tea and cake! The CAFOD group at St Teresa’s were up to their usual standard of producing a marvelous selection of home baked cakes and our guests thoroughly enjoyed it.  Julian commented, “this is the first tea I have had since being in the UK and it is great!  The cakes are so delicious!  I know the people back in Myanmar would love to hear about this and I shall be sharing it with them.”

Betty Cresswell (member of the CAFOD group) writes :

Julian – programme officer Myanmar

“What an enlightening evening it was! CAFOD was asked to help in Myanmar in 1993 and such was the need that in 1994 the country was rated a priority for aid.  There are 130 different ethnic groups in the country and 25% of the population lives below the poverty line.  Education is very limited and of poor quality.  Unless the children speak Burmese there is almost no hope of them receiving any significant schooling.  Among the ethnic groups living around the perimeter of the country there is a variety of languages and dialects, no money and very few if any teachers.  Without outside help this situation will probably never change.

Julian explains about CAFOD’s work in Myanmar

Rural poverty is almost the greatest challenge. The communities that border India and Bangladesh have no schools, no medical facilities, no electricity and very little, if any, safe water.  The yearly monsoon destroys the lives of the poorest communities almost every year. We were shocked to hear that the people have to rebuild their homes, often from scratch, at the end of the season, and all without government help!

Disaster Risk Reduction – Myanmar

CAFOD saw the need to work to support the community and promote inclusivity and equality among the people. It was essential to teach the rural communities about climate resilient agriculture and how to be better farmers.  It was equally important to work for peaceful co-existence with the many other communities.  CAFOD set up discussion groups and peace conferences to stop fighting amongst the many ethnic and religious groups and put a great deal of effort into working with the youth of the country to promote these values.  This all still goes on and is a slow process.

Conflict transformation – training

Fortunately the Catholic priests are seen as important leaders of communities. The Church has a good structure within the country with one cardinal and sixteen bishops working together with over four hundred priests.

The money that we raise goes to help with planning of events necessary to get people together to promote the improvement of life for all and to enable the locals to build capacity and improve their lives.  This is making a great difference.  Whilst there is an improvement in the new government under Ang San Suu Kyi, change is slow and CAFOD expects to be in the country for a long time to come.

>> Find out more about our work in Myanmar

Julian’s work in Myanmar isn’t to sink wells or dig fish ponds, but to journey alongside our partners providing support and encouragement. Bringing together, training and empowering local groups and community leaders to speak out and work on issues that matter most to people on the ground.

It is the expertise that CAFOD staff can offer that is so essential and useful to them all and is already improving lives. The challenge is great and they really need out support and prayers.”

>> Visit our website to donate

An inspired group

Marie Pennell, parish contact, said, “It was great to hear about the situation in Myanmar first hand and it inspires us to want to do more to support our brothers and sisters there!”  The group is already planning to hold an event during the week of action.

Thank you to the CAFOD group at St Teresa and all those who attended the evening. A big thank you to Julian for giving such an inspiring and thought-provoking session.  We know he will pass on our thoughts and prayers to our brothers and sisters in Myanmar when he returns.

>>  Find out more about how you can put your faith into action


Don’t miss it! Tomorrow at St Teresa’s Princes Risborough, our country rep talks about Myanmar

Myanmar country rep visit

Julian Pinzon Godoy, our Programme Officer from Myanmar will give an update on the situation in Myanmar.  This will be a very interesting talk as we will get a follow up from the community we heard about in Lent 2015.  He will share information about our different partners who are working on peacebuilding and advocacy, humanitarian capacity building and our Match Fund  project which focuses on livelihoods and climate resilient agriculture


Tuesday 6 June,  St Teresa’s Parish Hall, New Road, Princes Risborough HP27 0JN.  7pm for 7:30 – 8:30pm.cording online. You will need to sign up here.



You can also listen to Julian’s re