Jenny and Sandra’s Walk for Water


We are so grateful to everyone who took part in our 2021 Walk for Water, whether it be through donating, walking or raising awareness of fundraisers. Together we managed to raise over £650,000, and donations are still coming in!

We’ve loved seeing everyone’s photographs and the progress they made on their walks, so this week we wanted to hear from Sandra and Jenny in Selby, who took part in the Walk for Water this Lent.

Jenny (a CAFOD volunteer) and her mum, Sandra, have followed CAFOD campaigns for many years, and this year they decided they wanted to make the most of Lent to do something productive and beneficial in a time when it is easy to feel separated from the rest of the world.

A Short Message from Sandra and Jenny:

We were really glad that throughout all the lockdowns in the UK, CAFOD continued to promote the necessity for overseas development, and we were inspired by the Coronavirus Appeal and the 2021 Walk for Water.

We chose to do our walk together to motivate each other, and it was a great decision because we’ve loved getting out and about and exploring more of the villages where we live in Selby. We even managed to try out some walks by the Selby canal, which were a real highlight despite the bad weather.

Sandra, from Selby, getting very excited about seeing the canal boats.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to CAFOD for running this campaign which ultimately inspired us to actually get outside and do something productive. Not only did we feel we’d made a useful contribution to a valuable cause, but it’s given us a new favourite pastime together!

Easter Prayer


As we celebrate the end of our 40 days of Lent and we focus on the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we’d like to share this special Easter prayer with you.

We pray for everyone in our global family who is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, for those in our own parish, and for those who live in countries where healthcare is limited, and poverty brings enormous challenges. May God grant us all the gift of an open-hearted, generous and compassionate response to those in need. Lord, in your mercy…Amen.

Click here for Prayers on Easter Tide

Click here for Holy Week prayers

Free Training: How to organise a successful online meeting with your MP


Free-Training: How to organise a successful online meeting with your MP

We are encouraging Catholics all over the UK to organise a public meeting with other parishioners to engage their local MPs in climate crisis and social justice issues.

Book your place on our free training course on Saturday 10th April from 11.00am-12.30pm, where you will learn the step-by-step process on how to lobby your MP in support of CAFOD’s Reclaim Our Common Home campaign.

The training session will cover:

  • Faith and community participation: why it matters
  • How to set up a meeting with your local MP
  • The key elements of successfully promoting an event
  • The secret of not being put off by technology and run an engaging webinar
  • The challenges of facilitating an online meeting and how to address them
  • How to commit your MP to taking action
  • The ‘Reclaim our Common Home’ campaign and why its three demands are vital

Registration is free! Book your place now by clicking here.

Keep on Walking…


We have been delighted by the compassion and determination people have shown by Walking for Water in solidarity with Abdella this Lent.

Thank you to all you who have put on your walking shoes, tied up your green laces and hit the road – and thanks to all of you who have sponsored them. If you haven’t done so yet, it’s not too late and would give a real boost to the walkers if you could help them reach their target.

Mark is walking for water. He is a young teacher from Thornaby who has been walking to and from school for his challenge. He tells us:

“By the time I get home, I only have to take the dog for a short walk and my 10,000 steps are done!” Help Mark by donating to his fundraising page:

And finally, a big happy, Walk for Water Birthday goes to Pat Bishop who turns 100 on Palm Sunday. Please share her page and support her if you can. Pat, you’re an inspiration!

The Syrian Crisis: 10 Years On


The Syrian Crisis: 10 Years on

Join us for an online talk on Tuesday 23rd March at 11am with Yasmin Kayali from CAFOD partner Basmeh & Zeitooneh, who will be giving us an update on the Syrian crisis and how CAFOD have been responding over the years. Yasmin will be sharing her own experiences of the crisis through her work with Basmeh & Zeitooneh, who support those most affected by the Syrian crisis in Lebanon.


Click here to register.

Children’s Liturgy LIVE Celebrates 1st Anniversary!


CAFOD’s Children’s Liturgy LIVE celebrates one year of LIVE online streaming to Catholic families around the world.

Since the beginning of the lockdown on 22nd March last year, the online children’s platform has been a resourceful space for music, prayers and teaching every Sunday at 10am. 

Providing a place for Catholic families to connect whilst Churches have been closed, Children’s Liturgy LIVE has seen over 3,000 families take part in the LIVE sessions, they have sung the ‘Stand Up, Sit Down’ Alleluia 44 times, received over 1,500 pictures and colouring sheets from children at home and they’ve had 20 new adult presenters and their children join in on the sessions.

Mother-of-two Eileen Hayes, one of the organisers from the Children’s Liturgy team, says that the team could never have imagined how successful the sessions would become.

“Soon after the first lockdown started, me and a few other parents at CAFOD, came together and thought: ‘How can we engage the young people of our church community?’, and that was how Children’s Liturgy LIVE started.

“Within a month, a thousand families had joined us from as far afield as Australia and South Africa. Since then, we’ve had thousands of individuals, groups and families join the sessions, with an average of 500 families tuning in each week.”

Congratulations and well done to the Children’s Liturgy team and all the families who have volunteered to make it a success, and a space for children to engage throughout lockdown.

Do you know anyone who might like to hear about the sessions? Could you let them know?

Click here to register and join the next virtual children’s liturgy on Sunday at 10am. Follow the link and click on “Enter the series” to register.

If you can’t join the live session, a recording will be available to watch afterwards. 

Meeting the Challenge of Providing Clean, Safe Water in Bolivia



Did you know that access to clean and safe water is still denied to millions of people in many countries across the world?

Join us on Thursday 18th March at 6pm to hear from Nikki Evans, CAFOD Programme Officer for Bolivia who will share her work with communities in Bolivia to monitor water quality and prevent contaminants getting into the food chain.

Click here to register

Parliament in your Parish


Do you want to learn step-by-step how to organise online meetings to lobby your MP? 

On Thursday 25th March and Saturday 10th April, we will be rolling out ‘Parliament in your Parish’ as part of our new campaign, Reclaim Our Common Home.

We are inviting you to organise an online meeting with other parishioners with their local MP, to discuss how we can rebuild after the pandemic in a way that makes the world a fairer place, and tackle some of the major global issues including climate change and unjust debts.

In these training sessions we will be covering everything from why faith and community participation matters and the challenges of facilitating an online meeting (and how to address them), to the keys to encourage your MP to taking action.

For those interested in joining Parliament in your Parish, we are offering a training session on two separate dates: Thursday 25 March, 6.30-8pm or Saturday 10 April, 11-12.30pm. Register your place now at

If you have any questions about how to organise a Parliament in your Parish meeting, please contact for more information.

Walking the Walk


Many people in the North East and around the country are taking part in Walk for Water, walking 10,000 steps a day throughout Lent. After hearing the moving story of Abdella they have been inspired to lace up their walking shoes and hit the road.

We would like to give a very special mention to Father Anthony from Selby St Mary’s Parish who has walked 230,691 steps and totally smashed his £1000 target with his daily 10,000 step challenge and raised his target to £1500.

And also, a super duper well done to Mollie and David in Bradford who are almost half way on their challenge and raised an amazing £2765!

Jenny and Sandra from Selby tells us why they’re taking part:

Sandra, from Selby

“Lent is always a time when we should focus on our relationship with God, and with each other. Usually in our house we push ourselves to do a challenge or give up something we really love during Lent, but this year we decided to do something that wouldn’t only benefit ourselves, but that would have a much wider impact. It doesn’t only bring us closer to God, but closer to one another. After reading Abdella’s story, we knew that even though we can’t physically walk beside him every day of the year, we could do our best from home to support him in a way that could really make a difference.”

We would love to reach the £500 milestone by the end of next week!

To donate to Sandra and Jenny’s walk, please click the link here.

Thank you so much to everyone who is taking part and to all those who have donated to JustGiving pages!

It’s not too late to sign up for your Walk for Water challenge! If 5 miles a day is too much, you can do it as part of a team or just walk however far you reasonably can. As an example of this, please do read the amazing story of 99-year-old Pat Bishop. Click here to set up your JustGiving page: Register here and join the team!

Women of Gaza: Listening to their Perspective on 14 years of Blockade


Women of Gaza: Listening to their Perspective on 14 Years of Blockade

On Thursday 4th March at 6.30pm, International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE) will be inviting prominent women’s rights defenders to discuss the situation in Gaza from a gender perspective.

They will share their inspiring stories of working and living under 14 years of illegal blockade and the struggle for women’s rights in Gaza. Click here to register your place  

Providing Clean Water in Ethiopia


Our Walk for Water campaign is in full swing, and we’re on day 7 of our daily 10,000 steps. 

If you’re Walking for Water this Lent and you’d like to hear more information about what life is like for those facing water poverty in Ethiopia, and why we’re running our Lent campaign, join us for our ‘Providing clean water’ in Ethiopia webinar on Thursday 25th February 11AM.

You’ll get the chance to meet Dejene Fikre, our CAFOD representative in Ethiopia, as he shares the the joys of life in Ethiopia and how we are tackling the challenge of providing clean and safe water for all. Click here to register

It’s not too late to sign up to our Walk for Water challenge! Click here to get involved

Upcoming CAFOD Events


A Bumper Crop of Online Opportunities

This week we have lots of interesting events and gatherings for you online.

Livestream Mass for all CAFOD Volunteers, Thu 25 Feb, 10am

Fr Con Foley of Christ the Prince of Peace parish in Weybridge will livestream the Mass and prayers for all CAFOD Volunteers. This promises to be a lovely occasion to which all are welcome.

Providing Clean Water in Ethiopia Webinar: Thurs 25 Feb, 11am

Join us online to meet Dejene Fikre CAFOD representative in Ethiopia to hear about the joys of life in Ethiopia and how we are tackling the challenge of clean and safe water for all. To register, click here.

Youth of Gaza: Stories from a Lifetime Under Blockade, Thu 25 Feb, 6:30pm

In this webinar CIDSE (an international family of Catholic social justice organisations) invites three inspiring young activists from Gaza to share the stories of young people behind the numbers we hear about in Western media. Their work and experiences show how the youth Gaza relentlessly continue the struggle for justice and dignity in their own way.

The Challenge of Water in South Sudan, Tue 2 Mar, 11am

Join us for a transformational talk about the water crisis and our inspiring work in South Sudan. Ibrahim Njuguna CAFOD Country representative in South Sudan and Thomas Delamere CAFOD Programme office in South Sudan will be reporting on the situation in the region. To register, click here.

Stations of the Cross: Every Friday throughout Lent at 11am

This Lent, we will walk through the Stations of the Cross online in a prayerful journey of transformation in solidarity with people living in poverty around the world. To register for the next meeting, click here.

See our online talks page for more information.

Stations of the Cross, every Friday throughout Lent at 11am

Stations of the Cross


Click here to register for the STATIONS OF THE CROSS series

Yesterday we were so excited to begin our ‘Stations of the Cross’ series on bigmarker. You can watch yesterday’s recording by clicking here.

Join us online every Friday at 11am throughout Lent as we walk through the Stations of the Cross. Throughout Lent, we will be led on a prayerful journey of transformation in solidarity with people living in poverty around the world. Let’s meditate on Christ’s journey to the cross, following themes of justice, poverty, mercy, friendship and hope this Lent.

Register for the Stations of the Cross series

Ash Wednesday Mass


Join us for a special online Mass to mark Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent from 7pm-8pm on Wednesday 17th February, as we start our season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We may be apart but we can still come together as a community as we journey to grow closer to Christ.

Click here to register your place

If you’d like to do something different this Lent, why not sign up for our 10,000 Walk for Water 40-day Lent challenge? I’m getting started on my Walk for Water today! click here to find out more about the CAFOD Walk For Water or click here to donate.

Oxygen Crisis in Brazil


The pandemic has impacted access to medical supplies worldwide, and as coronavirus rates in northern Brazil rise, oxygen supplies are running out and prices are sky-rocketing.

On Thursday 11th February at 11am, we were joined online by Bishops in Brazil and colleagues Cecilia Iorio and Clare Dixon reporting on the oxygen crisis affecting millions of coronavirus patients and their families.

This is a great example of how our global church is responding to the crisis throughout the world. It’s definitely worth tuning in!

Click here to watch now

Step into the Gap 2021-2022


Are you thinking about taking a gap year this September?

Did you know you can take a gap year with CAFOD and make a positive impact for vulnerable and marginalized communities overseas?

CAFOD’s Step into the Gap program is now open for applications for 18–30-year-olds!

This is a unique and enriching opportunity to explore your contribution to building a more just and peaceful world. In partnership with our UK placements, we offer opportunities for 18–30-year-olds to gain experience, develop leadership skills and spend a year in the service of others. We believe you can inspire your generation to act for the poorest and most marginalised people in our world.

By being in either a retreat centre, university chaplaincy or school chaplaincy, you can volunteer as part of a programme which works alongside the Catholic community and others to bring about a more just world. This programme includes a visit to CAFOD partners and the communities we work with overseas.

Click here to find out more on how to apply

To find out more about previous volunteer experiences, you can read CAFOD blogs such as those linked down below about volunteering trips in Cambodia and Zimbabwe:

5 Minutes with… Maggie McWilliams


We caught up with Maggie McWilliams from Truro, Children’s Liturgy Volunteer and co-host of the LIVE online show Crafting J.O.Y with CAFOD, to find out when she began working with Children’s Liturgy, what it’s been like to start a LIVE online show during lockdown and how you can tune in and get involved.

Maggie McWilliams

What’s your name?

Margaret McWilliams – although most people call me Maggie.

What is your role?

Volunteer for CAFOD Children’s Liturgy LIVE and presenting Crafting J.O.Y with CAFOD with Bronagh Daley.

How long have you been in this position?

I started volunteering with Children’s Liturgy in the first lockdown. I’m involved in about one session every 5-6 weeks for Children’s Liturgy and this led to the birth of Crafting J.O.Y with CAFOD. Bronagh and I made a connection when I started volunteering for Children’s Liturgy and she proposed the idea of a LIVE craft show. She is full of great ideas about how we can share faith and create crafts that can lead to change (craftivism).

What is the best thing about your role?

All the people I have met from all over the country. I feel part of a very strong community; a community that I have been missing because of the absence of daily (and local) face to face connections. The virtual community of families that we reach out to through Children’s Liturgy makes me feel connected. Also, building a new friendship with Bronagh has been helpful- she is so easy to work with, and is creative and inspirational too. Bronagh often pulls me along to try new things and think in new ways, which is great!

What is Children’s Liturgy?

I was first involved in Children’s Liturgy as one of the families tuning in. I’d found that my children could not cope with online Mass and our local CAFOD group received the message that Children’s Liturgy was taking place. My kids and I were there from the first week and when they put a call out for volunteers to get involved, I was excited about the opportunity to contribute to the platform. Children’s Liturgy reaches out to families that are missing out on attending Mass. It really helps children of primary school age (and younger) to hear the message of the Gospel with some really well thought out reflections created by the CAFOD team.

What have been the highlights for Children’s Liturgy this year?

I loved the session that we did for Harvest, that felt really special. Also, the Christmas Liturgy was great too. My top favourite is the Alleluia to welcome the Gospel- when lockdown is over and we return to normal, I hope to use it with the children in my parish.

How can we get involved?

Click here to find out more about Children’s Liturgy

Anything else?

I’m really grateful for having been welcomed in by CAFOD, I really enjoy everything we share and feel that volunteering has really helped support me and my family through these unusual times!!

Crafting J.O.Y with CAFOD streams LIVE on and every first Sunday of the month at 5pm. To find out more about how you can register for Children’s Liturgy click here.

Walking for Water in Ethiopia


Can you imagine what making a daily 5-hour journey to get water for your family would be like?

Abdella, in Afar, has to make this exhausting journey daily. His story is the focus for our Lent appeal this year. On Thursday the 28th of January at 11am we had the chance to hear from Mark Chamberlain who joined 23-year-old Abdella on this journey. We heard about the people Mark met and of his personal experience of walking his 5-mile trek for water in one of the hottest places on earth, and as a particular treat we heard from Ethiopia Rep Teamrat Belai for a discussion about the challenges Ethiopia faces and how we work to provide clean water in dry areas.

Running up to our Walk for Water Lent challenge (starting on Saturday 20th February), this special online talk spread light on why this issue is so important to us, and why we are coming together as a Catholic community to raise money to help end water poverty.

Click here to watch the discussion

Abdella collecting water at the water source
Abdella walking to the first water point

Protecting and Empowering Migrant Workers


Ever wondered what you could do to protect overseas workers from being mistreated and abused?

On Tuesday 26th January at 11am, Grassroots organisation Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) joined us live from Bangladesh to discuss how we work together to protect and empower migrant workers.

Many Bangladeshis, particularly women, migrate to the Middle East to work. Many of these migrants face exploitation and abuse at the hands of employers and recruitment agents.

We were blessed with the opportunity to hear from Dominic Carroll, (Country Representative for CAFOD in Bangladesh and Afghanistan), Shakirul Islam (OKUP Founding Chair) and Eileen Hayes (a volunteer co-ordinator specialist for CAFOD).

Find out more about OKUP’s essential work, supported by CAFOD and the EU, to strengthen justice mechanisms for migrant workers and how they are working to end labour trafficking, forced labour and slavery.

Click here to watch the recording

To find out more about supporting migrants on the move in Bangladesh, you can also check out the CAFOD Blog with the link below:

Pakhi is a former migrant worker from Bangladesh who now helps other migrants to protect their rights.

Are you going to Walk For Water this Lent?


You can provide fresh clean water, shelter and food for vulnerable families overseas by walking, dancing, hopping, or skipping 10,000 steps for 40 days this Lent!

Walk for Water is our 2021 Lent campaign where we are walking 10,000 steps a day- every day, done our way. You don’t have to get tied in a knot about how to do it: whether you hop it, skip it, slide it, run it, jump it, dance it, stamp it, stomp it. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just as long as you put your heart and soul into it.

Mark in Thornaby has signed up to walk the 10,000 steps per day every day through Lent and has set up a JustGiving page for sponsors to support him: Mark’s walk for water | Walk for Water | CAFOD

Would you like to join him? Go the distance this Lent and help to end water poverty!  Sign up now, raise money and do something different to fight poverty.

Upcoming Events!


We have some really exciting upcoming events to share with you! We have the incredible opportunity to host online events with some of our international teams and volunteers, including a talk by Dominic Carroll and even the writer Mark Chamberlain!

As always, past webinars including children’s liturgies and talks such as ‘The Right to Clean Water in Peru’ with Lucy Jardine (a Programme Officer in Peru) are available on with the link below:

You can still use it to hear about the impact that mining is having on the access of clean water in indigenous communities of Peru.

On the 26th January at 11am, we have a talk about protecting migrant workers rights in Bangladesh by Dominic Carroll from our South Asia team. Grassroots organisation Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) will be joining us live from Bangladesh to discuss how we work together to protect and empower migrant workers.

On Thursday 28th January at 11am Mark Chamberlain will be speaking about the need for water in Afar, in Ethiopia and tell of his personal experience of Abdella who is featured in our Fast Day appeal this Lent. If you want to learn more about our Lent Appeal this year, please go to this blog:

This is Abdella, from Afar in Ethiopia

Lent Appeal Meetings


Abdella, who is from Afar in Ethiopia

This Lent we are focussing on water or rather the lack of it!

Abdella lives in Afar one of the hottest regions in Ethiopia and he spends 10 hours every day collecting water for his family. Can you help us support those like Abdella who don’t have a nearby access to safe, clean water? Come and find out how at one of our Lent Appeal meetings.

We have a variety of webinars which are still available for you to watch on, including ‘The Right To Clean Water In Peru’ with Lucy Jardine and ‘Walking For Water in Ethiopia’ with Mark Chamberlain.

This Lent, we have meetings to suit you different days and times, large and small . At some meetings we will have a speaker from CAFOD’s International Programmes.

Links to regional meetings this week can be found on the CAFOD Middlesbrough Facebook page at

We will also explore the resources for the Lent Appeal and tell you more about Abdella’s story. So please email to book your place for these meetings.

All meetings will take place on zoom.

Reclaiming Our Common Home


Sign our petition to the prime minister

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour.” Ask yourself this question: ‘if two are better than one, how can we come together to make a positive impact on the world?’

Reclaim Our Common Home is CAFOD’s new campaign is a response to Pope Francis’s call for a new way of thinking about the world, and to take an active part in renewing our troubled societies by embracing the universal values of solidarity and fraternity. Sign our petition to the prime minister

In 2020, we experienced the worst global health crisis in a century. The coronavirus pandemic has devastated lives and shattered families in Britain and across the world, with disastrous consequences for people’s jobs and livelihoods.

The pandemic exposed many of the inadequacies of how our world currently works. It has proved that we need greater cooperation between nations, solidarity between people and a greater focus on the poorest in society.

As Catholics, we are called not to stay silent and not to be passive. This is why Reclaim Our Common Home is a call to action! It’s a call to participate both individually and collectively in rebuilding a more dignified and sustainable world after the pandemic. Click here to find out more.

If you would like to receive regular updates about CAFOD’s campaigns, appeals and other ways you can support CAFOD’s work, click here.

New Year’s Resolution – Become a CAFOD Volunteer!


2020 has shown us how much we value and need each-other. Your support during the year has been hugely appreciated. Many of you have joined one of our campaigns with us or helped us with a much-needed donation, or perhaps you have held us and those in poverty in your prayers. Whichever way you chose to support us, thank you. 2020 was a better year for many because of your support.

Did you know that we have a team of volunteers throughout England and Wales who are vital to our work? They’re a huge team of people who raise awareness of our work in parishes, schools and on social media. Many help us support other volunteers, or with office and communications work Some help spread the word wider by working with media outlets. Many have specific skills they bring to our mission while others have skills they want to learn and hone to as they develop their own potential. We provide support and training for any role you take on.

Would you be willing to join our team of volunteers and make the world a better place in 2021? Could you volunteer with CAFOD? Not only will you gain new friends and skills, but you’ll be a part of our life-saving work. Can you help us reach more people who are struggling with poverty?

Would you like to volunteer in your local parish, or in schools? Could you spread the word to your friends and beyond or help us support our amazing volunteers? Your resolution will help ensure everyone can one day live with dignity.  

We have a whole range of volunteering opportunities available. It doesn’t matter how much time you can contribute – what matters that you do it.  

5 Minutes With… Celeste Iyinbo


Celeste Iyinbo

We caught up with Celeste Iyinbo, Community Participation Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator in the South East team, to find out what being a Community Participation Coordinator is all about, what happens in the volunteer recognition scheme, and how you can get involved with CAFOD online!

What’s your name?

Celeste Iyinbo

What is your role?

Community Participation Coordinator (CPC) in the Southwark Diocese & Volunteer Coordinator Specialist in the Volunteer Support Team

How long have you been in this position?

I’ve been a CPC for 11 months and as a Volunteer coordinator Specialist for just over a month.

What does a ­­Community Participation Officer do?

As a CPC my role is interesting, for example I speak to volunteers in the Diocese of Southwark who support CAFOD through fundraising for us, supporting CAFOD in their parish at Lent and Harvest, and sign-up people who want to make the use of their talents or gain new skills volunteering at our volunteer centres. As a CPC we organise briefings for volunteers before Lent and Harvest to let everybody know about the current appeal and inspire parish volunteers who will speak on behalf of CAFOD at their parish.

In my newer role I am doing a variety of things to support the management of our volunteers. This includes improving induction training, organising webinars, and coordinating the volunteer recognition scheme where CAFOD shows our appreciation to volunteers for their time and work with us. It’s exciting in particular for people that have given 25 years of volunteer service to CAFOD because they receive a Papal Award direct from the Vatican.

What do you enjoy about your role?

I enjoy different things in each role. I like speaking with volunteers from across the diocese, finding out about what their parishes are like- they are all so different, and discussing our campaigns, World Gifts or fundraising appeals, is really enjoyable.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your role?

Interacting with volunteers and building up relationships, telling people about CAFOD’s work and being able to share positive stories from our volunteers about how they fundraise or raise awareness about CAFOD appeals.

What projects have you been working on lately?

Christmas is a lovely time of year to say thanks to volunteers. I’ve been working on organising the volunteer Christmas Card for 2020 and making the preparations for recipients of the 25-year volunteer milestone award. We have started planning in the Southwark Community Participated Coordinator team for our upcoming Lent volunteer briefings in February 2021.

How can we get involved?

If you use social media it would be great if you can like and share your local Diocesan Community Participation Team’s Facebook,Twitter accounts and posts. Volunteers are doing some amazing things and it would be wonderful to share this, as well as CAFOD’s work with as many people as possible.  In the words of Buzz lightyear “to infinity and beyond”!

To find out more about how you can volunteer with CAFOD click here.

How is Coronavirus affecting the Democratic Republic of the Congo?


Women from Centre Olame (a CAFOD partner) make face masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is still recovering from years of devastating civil war, which killed almost four million people.

Imagine living in a country where everything is imported from outside, and now, there is nothing coming in, where the markets need to open every day so people can survive and where you need to pay for your healthcare in cash.

Join us to hear more about the challenge of coronavirus in the Democratic Republic of Congo

In the DRC the infrastructure has been broken down for many, many years so people have relied on Church infrastructures for a long time. In the areas controlled by rebels, we are getting reports from our Church partners that people are suffering, many of whom live in areas that are hard to access .

However, there is good news, the Church is very well organised and our Church partners are there and can reach many people. There is an understanding that we as humanitarian workers, especially we as a Church institution, have the prior experience in tackling Ebola and can bring this experience to the coronavirus pandemic.

We have repurposed some of the funding we had for long-term development to put into the coronavirus response and we are supplying food to close to 2,000 households in six communities in Kinshasa. And we plan to extend this project to further communes.

To learn more about how coronavirus is affecting some communities in the DRC join our exclusive dialogue with Bernard Balibuno, Country Representative for CAFOD in DRC, and John Birchenough, Head of Humanitarian Programmes in Africa on Thursday 10 Dec 11am-midday.

If you would like to donate to the coronavirus appeal click HERE.

Students Assemble! The Light of the World National Assembly


Join with students around England and Wales as we pray and reflect together in our Advent national assembly for schools.

We’re all very busy getting ready for Christmas. This year, we may not be able to do the things we usually do, like visit all our families and friends, and spend time in each other’s houses. But while we remember some of the difficult times we’ve all lived through this year, we also look forward to the coming of Jesus – the light of the world.

The assembly is on Thursday 10 December, with the primary assembly starting at 9.30am and the secondary assembly starting at 10am. In this assembly we will meet some people around the world who have spread light and hope this year, and we will reflect on what it what it means to share the light of Jesus to help make Christmas special for everyone. Join us and tune in by clicking HERE.

Online Carol Service and Nativity Play


Deck the halls with bows of holly… (and you know the rest!). It’s Advent, and we’ll be celebrating Christmas the way we usually do, but online. Want to celebrate Christmas in your parish or community by holding an online carol service or Christmas Play?

Here’s a quick guide on how to do it:

1. Choose a date and time, maybe a weekend or evening

2. Choose an online platform like Zoom.

3. Create an order of service (see our carol sheet for ideas on which Christmas Hymns to sing).

4. Find someone who can lead the carols (maybe a good singer or musician, if this is not possible, try using some videos, there are loads on YouTube).

5. Set up a JustGiving page or invite people to donate to the CAFOD website.

6. You’re ready to go!

Everything you need to know about organising an online carol service, a selection of favourite carols to use in your service and a script for your Nativity play. Get started with these free downloadable resources here. We have many more resources and opportunities online at Have a look and see what might work for you and your community.

Come along with us on our ‘Journey to the Manger…’


Journey to the Manger

Advent has crept up on us this year like none before. It feels strange not being able to start our journey of Advent in church, as it is a journey that we should all be going on together.

But there is strength and solidarity in knowing that we are all alongside each other in prayer. Join us on a unique Advent journey:

Join us LIVE every Sunday from the 29th November for some simple and peaceful prayer and reflection as we share our Advent journey together. We will gather around a candle and be gently led in a time of prayer.

Invite your friends, family, housemates, colleagues! Everyone is welcome to join for a moment of calm at an increasingly busy time of year. No need for a webcam or microphone or worrying about what to say, just register through the link below then come back to this link every Sunday of Advent and on Epiphany (Wednesday 6th January).

The prayer will start at 6pm and run for less than half an hour. Do invite a friend or two, it’s nice to share the journey with others. Register now to journey with us here.

5 Minutes With…. Becky Such


We caught up with Becky Such, Individual Giving Executive aka World Gifts Coordinator at CAFOD, to find out what World Gifts is all about, what the most popular gifts are and how your giving this Christmas can make a positive impact in someone else’s life.

1. What’s your name?

Becky Such

2. What is your role?

I’m an Individual Giving Executive with responsibility for World Gifts, although I often call myself World Gifts Coordinator, as that’s a bit simpler!

3. How long have you been in this position?

I started June 2018.

4. What is the best thing about your role?

My role is so varied. From sourcing new gifts and case studies, to coming up with new ways we can improve World Gifts and actually making it happen each year. Hearing how individuals, schools and parishes have all fundraised – it’s really rewarding that way. Ithink I’m really lucky having the positive examples of our work that make up World Gifts, the new visuals this year have also been really fun to see and develop with the illustrator! Plus, a big focus for World Gifts is Christmas, and I really love the season, so that’s a win-win really.

5. What is World Gifts?

World Gifts is CAFOD’s virtual giving scheme. Back when it started in 2003, it was one of the first virtual gift schemes out there. We wanted to find a way for people to tangibly engage with our work and support CAFOD around Christmas, and so World Gifts was born. World Gifts is arguably for everyone – mainly individuals buy them as gifts for their loved ones, but schools and parishes do fundraise to either buy one more expensive gift, or lots of less expensive gifts. Although World Gifts is a fun way to support CAFOD, it’s also a great way to hear about different areas of our work. Even people who work at CAFOD say they didn’t realise some of the things we do when they read a World Gifts case study.

6. What are the most popular World Gifts and why?

The most popular gifts change a little each year, but some of the firm favourites are Teach someone to read, Water for a family and Happy queen bee. The Keep clean kit, new this year, is also proving very popular. I think these gifts are well-liked because they’re easy to understand. Here in the UK we can take for granted having the opportunity to learn to read, or access to clean running water, but everyone can appreciate how vital these are. With the Happy queen bee gift I think partly it’s because it’s our bargain gift, at just £4, but also because everyone loves bees!

7. How has the pandemic affected World Gifts this year?

I think people are turning to World Gifts more than they normally would. Perhaps because most of us can’t go out shopping at the moment. Or because many of us have reassessed what’s important to us this year, so a charity gift seems the best thing to give. The website has certainly seen a lot more orders coming through as people turn more and more to online ways to support CAFOD.

From a group fundraising perspective, I think it has been really challenging. We normally send out batches of World Gifts catalogues to parishes all over England and Wales, but with lockdown restrictions, we’ve had to postpone that in England. But I have heard about schools and parishes still managing to fundraise, sometimes converting their usual activities into virtual ones. People have really used their imagination, which is brilliant. And I know people see World Gifts as quite an uplifting thing to engage with at this difficult time.

8. What have been the highlights for World Gifts this year?

Launching our new look has been a real highlight. Not only was this an immense achievement for everyone involved considering the extra challenges of working remotely, but we’ve also had really positive feedback.

Launching our “Post direct” option on the website. This allows people to provide us with a personalised message which we will print in their card and post directly to their loved one. In a year where there is so much uncertainty around who we will be able to see, I really hope that this option helps people to feel a bit more connected.

9. How can we get involved?

Buy a World Gift! You can see the full range at or you can order via the catalogue if you’ve got your hands on one of those. Already done that? You could see if anyone in your parish or school wants to fundraise for World Gifts. Or you could just spread the word, whether on social media, in your parish bulletin or just chatting to your friends. We know the more people who hear about World Gifts, the better! I also know that right now is a really hard time financially for a lot of people. World Gifts start from just £4, but they’re also available all year round. So if you can’t buy a World Gift now, you can always do it for another occasion.

Margaret’s walking for CAFOD’s coronavirus appeal


CAFOD parish volunteer Margaret contacted me recently to tell me what she has been doing quietly. At first she said, ” I don’t want any publicity and I certainly don’t want a visit from the BBC!”, (although she wouldn’t mind meeting Charlie from breakfast tv)!

Later she agreed I could share it!

She told me, “Of course like everyone else I really miss meeting people at Church….. I meet many people each day on my daily walks pushing my rollator around Linthorpe! I was ahead of Captain Tom celebrating his 100th birthday and I know that he was able to raise millions for the NHS. I’ve decided to raise funds for the CAFOD appeal and each day I’m going to put some money in a CAFOD box and at the end of all this that money is for the appeal.”

What a marvellous idea! Keep up the great effort Margaret!

Is there anything you are doing to support our Coronavirus appeal that you’d like to share with us – we’d love to hear from you! Join our coronavirus appeal today

CAFOD Volunteer Meetings in February


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


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

St Mary’s Cathedral leads the way


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


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!