Meet Sophie – a new addition to CAFOD East Anglia

Sophie Photo

Sophie’s year with us has come to an end, but you can still contact us with any possible news story.

A new arrival at CAFOD’s East Anglia diocese is set to raise the profile of the aid agency in the media. We welcome journalist Sophie Harrington in her new regional communications role.

On taking up her new position, Sophie said:

“I join CAFOD at a time when the urgency for supporting those in need could not be more stark.

The devastation in the Philippines is a reminder why CAFOD exists as it delivers, through partner organisations, aid to thousands of survivors who are victims of Typhoon Haiyan – fighting to live while facing untold devastation and bereavement.”

On a regional level, people need to know what you are doing for CAFOD and why you are doing it. This knowledge and information not only raises the profile of CAFOD, thereby encouraging others to raise money, but also educates everyone and reminds them of the challenges facing people in poverty and inequality around the world.

I have been employed by CAFOD to be the vehicle through which your stories about the charity meet a greater audience. It is vitally important that people in the East Anglian diocese of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk share their news and fundraising efforts with the public at large. I am a journalist, who trained through the National College for the Training of Journalists to gain qualifications to become senior reporter and worked on local papers in Essex. I then became editor for a national trade magazine, which specialised in farming. I am very aware of the power of news and communications.

I am a cradle Catholic, who went to secondary school within this diocese at St Alban’s Catholic High School in Ipswich. CAFOD was a crucial part of my childhood, as I also went to a Catholic primary school, and I believe it helped me gain a crucial sense of social justice to my core. I grew up taking part in sponsored fasts for CAFOD and various collections, which further deepened my sense of place in the world and how I could help make an impact, however small, on helping others improve their futures.

I am looking forward to getting out into East Anglia and meeting schools, parishes, priests and volunteers to see how I can help to highlight the vital work that is being done. I hope that people can overcome their modesty to realise a greater good can be done by publicising the things they are doing in God’s name, through CAFOD.

Etcher Petrus John Arendzen  with his wife Epiphania, and four of their sons, all priests - Alphonse, Leo, John and William

Etcher Petrus John Arendzen with his wife Epiphania, and four of their sons, all priests – Alphonse, Leo, John and William.

My family has a strong Catholic heritage and one which directly intertwines me with East Anglia. I am the great, great grand-daughter of Dutch etcher Petrus Johannes Arendzen, who went on to have four sons who were Catholic priests.

My great, great uncle Father John Peter Arendzen (pictured below), was the first parish priest at St Ives in Cambridgeshire and spread the Catholic faith in England. Father Arendzen was one of the main religious writers in the first half of the 20th century. He was a prolific author and wrote many religious books – four of which are still selling today. He was also an orator and a regular speaker at Hyde Park Corner. The Daily Mail named him as one of the preachers of the century.

john peter arendzen

I once visited his St Ives parish – the Sacred Heart – and learnt about the incredible history of how it was previously the church of St Andrew in Cambridge, designed by George Pugin, but due to a great increase in the number of Catholics in the area had become too small. Due to the need for a much larger building, the Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs had been opened – thereby making the church defunct.

It was dismantled and transported by barge and rebuilt in Needingworth Road in St Ives in just five months, where it stands today.

Do share your news with me – whether its something your working on or something you have done – so that we can help the work of CAFOD on an international scale through the media.

Please get in contact with me, Sophie Harrington on sharrington@cafod.org.uk.

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