Teenage campaigner inspires community to come together

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Jodie explains some of the issues that need addressing

A 14-year-old from Driffield has organised a series of environmental events and workshops to help her community learn more about the effects of climate change,

With support from her local CAFOD parish volunteer, Ethna Connell, young Jodie Lidster has been rallying the parishioners at her local church to get involved with a campaign to tackle climate change by making small changes in their everyday lives.

“Climate change is a big problem to society because we are killing all living things on the earth like trees, flowers and sea creatures,” said Jodie, who volunteers with the Catholic international development charity CAFOD.

“There are droughts and flooding and people are suffering. And we don’t know that it’s happened because we have done so much damage.

“Litter is a huge problem. It travels all over to the other side of the world just to be dumped in the poorest countries, it’s not fair. What’s even more unfair is that they have to fish it up and walk through it just to look for food and drink.”

“I want to help. I want my parish to help me to help.”

Jodie started by making a massive poster for the church hall and got the children’s group at church involved by playing games around the theme of the environment.

The determined youngster then decided to organise a plant and produce sale, which included information stalls to help local people to learn more about the effects of climate change.

Jodie said: “When we asked the people from the parish for help, they came with local plants, vegetables, and eggs from my grandma’s chickens. People made jams from homegrown fruit and one of our young readers at church and her mum made biscuits and they sold so quickly.

“We got support from the children’s church group, who showed and explained how we can all help in our own world. Our youngest church reader, who is seven years old, taught us to recycle plastic to make bird feeders.”

In addition to campaigning about climate change, Jodie also used her skills to fundraise to help install a disabled ramp at her church.

“Because many of our friends are old and frail and others have disabilities and some use wheelchairs, we had a problem as there are steps into our church,” said Jodie. “So, we all decided to help raise money to have a ramp for easier access into the church and to help people feel independent and welcome.

“With the sale, we raised a little money and decided to share this between the disabled ramp and CAFOD, who are campaigning to tackle climate change as part of their ‘Our Common Home’ campaign.”

This event was one of many inspired by CAFOD’s ‘Our Common Home’ campaign and organised by CAFOD volunteers around the country. It is hoped the events will highlight the growing concern for the environment and start new conversations about climate change. 

Find out more about CAFOD’s campaigns at cafod.org.uk/campaign

St Mary’s Cathedral leads the way

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With grateful thanks to Don for this report on the first Creation campaign event.

Don prepares to collect signatures for our petition from parishioners

As the result of the positive response by Mgr. Gerard Robinson, Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, to CAFOD’s Creation Celebration campaign, the Mass at the Cathedral on the morning of 19 May 2019, the fifth Sunday of Easter, incorporated hymns and prayers that celebrated God’s creation.

The Mass was celebrated by Fr Richard Marsden, who, in his introduction, explained the Mass as having a special focus on the Care of Creation and he reminded the congregation to keep that intention in their prayers.

In his homily, the Rev Ken Senior, the Cathedral deacon, spoke of the ‘vastness of God’s love’ and pointed out ‘One of the ways that God has shown his love for us all is by giving us a fantastic world in which to live. Sadly, partly through lack of knowledge, and partly through things out of our control, we have done many things to harm our world.

This is something Pope Francis has become acutely aware of and deeply concerned about. So much so that he wrote an encyclical on the subject, Laudato Si’, his message being that we need to care for our planet and to do everything possible to reverse the damage we have done. So, as we think about how we love those around us, we also need to think about our love for future generations and for the legacy that we will leave them.’

The Children’s Liturgy Group studied St Francis’s Canticle of Creation and considered why God’s creation is so special and what we can do to look after it. The children read out the following prayer to the whole congregation: “Dear Lord, help us to see your beauty and likeness in all created things, so that we may follow St Francis in showing care for creation. Amen.”

Before the final blessing, Don Lillistone, the parish CAFOD representative, spoke of the Creation Celebration campaign and encouraged parishioners to sign CAFOD’s petition asking the Government to commit to a net zero greenhouse emissions reduction target by 2045.

After Mass, Carol Cross, CAFOD Community Participation Coordinator for the Diocese of Middlesbrough, helped Teresa Lyth, the Chair of the Cathedral Justice and Peace group and other members of the group to deal with the enthusiastic response to the petition and to answer any queries. 112 parishioners signed the petition.   

Parishioner’s showing their concern for Our Common Home, eagerly signing the petition.

Weathering the changes on the Humber Bridge Cross

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Smiles of anticipation as we waited to set off

The sun was shining brightly and the birds were singing as Christian Aid and CAFOD volunteers set off for the annual Humber Bridge Cross. There were many friendly faces greeting us as we passed each other walking to the Barton side. You could see for miles all around from the elevated vantage of the bridge as we made the first crossing. I think Sam the dog could sense a change was coming!

Refreshments on the Barton side, Sam the dog was eager to get going again!

The thing about walking across the Humber Bridge is you are exposed to the elements. Grey clouds were descending as we set off again, soon turning into a heavy downpour driven by a gusty wind! Bernard was walking with the aid of two sticks when we met Margaret, who’d left her coat at home but bravely continued the first cross and lapped us on the way back to the Hessle side! For us, it was a real case of heads down into the wind and endure the torrent until it abated – we were soaked through!

A little rain didn’t dampen their spirits – Margaret and Bernard smiled through!

As we got back to where we started, the rain stopped and the sun came back out! The other walkers had already left for home as we claimed our certificates from Teresa and Norah and bid farewell to the friendly teams in the registration tent as they packed up for another year. No doubt we’ll be back to do it all again next year!

It’s our 10th anniversary!

Can you believe ten years have passed since our very first blog was posted – where does the time go?

Dierdre, Richard and Mick from St Aelred’s, York

Our first one was about the Middlesbrough 10k run, where we had 3 runners from St Aelred’s parish in York, who were raising funds for CAFOD. I wonder where they are now?

So much has taken place and there’s been so many changes since 2009, in CAFOD and in the wider world.

Looking back it was good to be reminded of so many events and people who have passed through our doors and lives, some who still keep in touch with us and others who have gone on to greater achievements, and also sadly, some who shared the journey but are no longer with us.

We have shared news of so many partner’s and colleagues who visited from overseas, campaign initiatives, our wonderful volunteer’s fundraising activities, school activities, emergencies and so much more!

We have met bishop’s and archbishop’s, Lord Mayor’s and MP’s, crossed bridges and made pilgrimages, attended rallies and joined campaign marches.

Then there were our young communication volunteers, starting with Sarah, who was then a student at York University, next came Liam as a media volunteer, who now works in CAFOD’s national office, and young Jonathan who was our media intern.

I feel very grateful for all that has been and to everyone who has given us the benefit of their time and energy over the years, sorry that I can’t share more memories but if you have a moment to spare, why not take a look yourself? Thanks be to God for all that has been and for all that is to come.