CAFOD Volunteer Meetings in February

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Our Volunteer meetings will take place during this month.

Tuesday 11th February in the Father Kelly room at Our Lady’s, Cornlands Road,  Acomb, York from 11:30 – 1:30pm.

Tuesday 18th February at St Anthony’s Church, Beverley Road, Hull from 12:30 – 2:30pm.

Thursday 27th February at the Curial Offices, 50a The Avenue, Linthorpe Middlesbrough from 12:00 – 2:00pm.

Please tell us if you are coming and feel free to bring a friend along with you!

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!

Staying connected this Easter

For many of us, this Easter Sunday will look very different to the ones we’ve had before and although we cannot gather in person, there are lots of ways to come together with our Catholic community around the world during these difficult times.

From joining CAFOD’s Facebook community group to watching our live Easter Sunday Children’s liturgy, joining our online talks, and using our Easter prayers as a way of praying outside of Church liturgies and services – there are so many ways to get involved.

A unique Lenten season

Parishioners were joined by school children at St Gabriel’s CAFOD Fast Day soup lunch in March

Only a few weeks ago, parishes, schools and communities across the country came together for our sixtieth annual Family Fast Day.

We heard about some great activities happening around the diocese and we want to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped by organising soup lunches and quiz nights in parishes before the lock down put an end to them.

Your support will mean that we can continue to support local experts around the world, which is especially important in the coming weeks and months as the number of confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to rise in the African and Asian countries where we work.

We know that the impact of COVID-19 on countries with weak health care systems will be devastating for communities with limited availability to vital hand washing and hygiene facilities.  

However, we refuse to be overwhelmed by the task ahead – already our country teams working with church agencies, and their respective government health authorities are reaching out to vulnerable families with critical information on how to keep safe.

We’ve learnt from our Ebola experiences in Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Sierra Leone that the role of faith, traditional, and community leaders is pivotal in reinforcing hygiene messages, and making sure that people understand what to do if they feel unwell.

And thanks to support from across Middlesbrough diocese, we will be able to continue to stand alongside these organisations during these challenging times.

Reflecting and connecting

A group of sheep standing on top of a grass covered field

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As Linda Jones from our Theology team wrote in her blog about ‘signs of hope in a time of crisis’, like snowdrops in January, or daffodils in spring, we all will have seen and experienced signs of hope.

It would be great if you could share with us at middlesbrough@cafod.org.uk the things happening in your community that have given you hope this Holy Week.

We’ve had some great examples already of families around the country making their own palm crosses to put on their doors on Palm Sunday. 

If you’re stuck for inspiration, we have lots of Holy Week resources for primary and secondary ages, with challenges and activities for young people to get stuck in to.

Finally, stay safe and well, we would like to wish you and your loved ones a blessed and joyful Easter weekend!