CAFOD campaigners attended a special day of reflection to explore how to live out Pope Francis’ call to be “witnesses of mercy”. On 19th November a small group from Middlesbrough and Hexham and Newcastle dioceses attended a joint event in York led by CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns, Daniel Hale.
During the day they studied extracts from Laudato Sii and explored the story of the Prodigal Son. One participant, reflecting on the day said, “It was a wonderful, very special day. Dan led us in a very gentle way and the pictures and stories in the materials used helped us to discover a new meaning of a familiar word. Mercy is a profound aspect of God. The process of sharing our thoughts gave us enriching insights into the meaning of mercy we encountered that day. It was lovely to meet people from so far afield, who we wouldn’t have met otherwise. In meeting and sharing, we grow. I would encourage people of any and all ages to go along”!
Following a shared lunch, the group had time for personal reflection before joining together to share their personal definitions of what mercy means to them. These are just two examples of the reflections that were shared: “All life is gift of the God of love, so we must live in a spirit of love, of kindness, of generosity, of acceptance. This is mercy: to live in gratitude and love”.
“Mercy is unconditional love and acceptance which reaches out to meet the one in need, in an embrace of love”.
Throughout November CAFOD held 17 retreats around the country where people reflected on the works of mercy and actions linked to its meaning that can be lived out in our families, communities and in our world. Campaigns manager, Sarah Croft said, “The retreats were an opportunity to be refreshed and sustained. They enabled volunteers to take time out of their busy lives to reflect on their own faith journey in peaceful surroundings. We also took time to learn from each other’s experiences and be inspired and enriched by stories from CAFOD’s campaigning and overseas work”.