Renewing the face of the earth

Bishop Alan gathered participants from parishes across the diocese at the Cathedral on Friday 30 June 2017 for a day, exploring and responding to the teachings of Pope Francis on the care of our common home.

The Holy Father wrote his encyclical two years ago: Laudato Si’, and introducing our day of formation, Bishop Alan described it as a seminal teaching of the faith, providing the theological justification for our care of God’s creation – our life on Earth.

Priests, Deacons, and parish delegates, including many CAFOD volunteers gathered in response to Bishop Alan’s call, representing half the parishes of the diocese.

Listening to Father Augusto explain the deep theology of Laudato Si’

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Bernard and Mary share their CAFOD stories

Two dedicated CAFOD volunteers shared their thoughts on charity work they have been engaged in for the past years.

Bernard began volunteering for CAFOD 36 years ago. He says:

“I came back to Cambridge after two stints in the states with an agrochemical company and was looking to reintegrate into the community. I had returned from the US in a privileged position financially and wanted to give back. I only joined St. Philip Howard, which was a relatively new parish back then, by accident. I joined SVP and was one of the founding members of our parish’s Justice and Peace group – there are only two of us left now! From that, I got to know a nun who was having problem getting funds to CAFOD, so worked alongside her for a time and through that I came across CAFOD’s education campaign ‘Just Food’.

I would have said that it would be quite unlikely that I would still be volunteering for CAFOD in 30 years time if you’d asked me when I first started! But if my health stands up, I would think I’d still be volunteering in ten years time.”

Mary got involved with CAFOD’s work in the early 1990s, along with her late husband. She recalls:

“In our parish in Downham every mass this wonderful lady, Elsie Travers, would stand with the bucket – the CAFOD bucket we called it! – asking for spare coppers for CAFOD. I got talking to her and she gave me information about CAFOD and so on. She really is one of the reasons I got involved with CAFOD.”

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Power to be from Kenya to St. Alban’s High School, Ipswich

Can you imagine having a rainy gloomy school day in Ipswich where students have to attend classes in the dark and then go to a home where the only source of light available makes you cough?

It is quite a grim reality to have to live with but surprisingly enough in 2017, 1.2 billion people in the world still do not have access to electricity of which 291 million are school children. Veronica, who was one of these school children, today is able to see the light at the end of the tunnel all thanks to CAFOD and its Campaign Power to be.

An aspiring student from Kenya, Veronica’s wish to become a politician is more approachable today than it was a couple of years ago. Before CAFOD came into the picture, Veronica was unable to continue working on her education as she only had a paraffin lamp to light up her homework and studies when she arrived home. The paraffin smoke was becoming a health hazard as she started having respiratory problems. With CAFOD’s help, Veronica was given the opportunity to continue with her studies in a healthy environment.

CAFOD was able to fit in solar panels at her school to help light their classroom during the darkest of days. Today she is able to take with her to school her new solar lamp to charge during the day. She then uses the solar lamp at home while she catches up on some extra late night reading, which brings her closer to her dream day by day.

This week, 200 Year 10 students at St. Alban’s High School in Ipswich were introduced to people and realities similar to Veronica’s. Our CAFOD volunteers Mike and Kevin worked with the students to collect messages and ideas to bring forward to politicians to make them aware of the benefits of using sustainable and affordable energy.

Students were able to see how organisations such as CAFOD are able to help millions of people around the world reach their potentials and maybe even provide them with the Power to be tomorrow’s politicians.