St Mary’s Cathedral LiveSimply Award

Carol Reccieving an Award

Carol presenting the award to Theresa.

CAFOD have developed the Livesimply award for Catholic communities – parishes, schools, religious orders and chaplaincies to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in his encyclical Laudato Si’ to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”. Successful completion of the programme leads to the Livesimply award, which is given to Catholic communities that can demonstrate that they have taken significant steps to respond to the Church’s call “to live simply so that others may simply live”. The key criteria are Living simply: Living in solidarity with people in poverty; and Living sustainably with creation.

In the context of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Bishop Terence has written: ‘Let us give particular support to CAFOD in its One Climate One World campaign, its support for refugees and in encouraging parishes to become Livesimply parishes’.With Monsignor Gerard’s approval, the Justice & Peace Group of St Mary’s Cathedral registered for the Livesimply programme in the autumn of 2017. Following CAFOD’s guidance and template, the Group devised a wide-ranging action plan that included inviting Rev David Cross to give a Parish talk on Laudato Si, displaying selected quotations from Laudato Si’ on the Justice and Peace noticeboard, organizing a family walk with refugees, encouraging parishioners to walk to Church, promoting Fair trade products, planting bulbs in the Cathedral’s peace garden, supporting a number of charitable causes both at home and abroad through the parish’s ‘Ten pence bowl’ and other fund-raising events, organizing food collections for the John Paul Centre, and encouraging volunteer work through promotion of the World Day of the Poor. 

IMG-20181118-WA0001 (2)Some of the sections were on a large scale. For example, the family walk, which was followed by afternoon tea at the Cathedral, welcomed over seventy refugees.

Although organized by the Justice and Peace Group, the planned actions were successfully implemented only because of generous support from across the parish, as evidenced by the sum in excess of £29,000 that has to date been raised to help the Padre Pio Rehabilitation Centre at Ahotokurom to buy a  bus to replace the existing old and unreliable one, which often breaks down and is so small and uncomfortable that children and leprosy patients often have to stand or sit on each other’s knees.  The bus is essential as it is the only provision of transport for children and adults who attend the day centre, as well as many staff. Fund-raising for this project continues, as a total of £50,000 is required.

On 29 October 2018, Joe Burns and Trish Sand Bach, two CAFOD assessors from the Leeds Diocese, came to evaluate the implementation of the action plan, and granted the award to the Cathedral, which thereby became the first parish in the Middlesbrough Diocese to be designated a Livesimply parish.

All parishes are committed to their good works, so what are the advantages of taking IMG-20181118-WA0002 (2)part in a programme such as Livesimply? First, there is much to be said for drawing up a specific plan rather than working on an ad hoc basis. There is nothing like setting targets to provide the motivation to meet them! Second, the aims of Livesimply are wide-ranging and that can mean that the individuals involved can find it an enriching experience by being taken out of their comfort zone. Finally, so many parishes do such good charitable work, and Livesimply provides an opportunity to acknowledge formally what they do.

The award is, of course, not an end in itself, but rather a challenge to sustain and develop further how, as a parish,we can respond to the needs of the poor and the disadvantaged.

St Mary’s Cathedral Justice and Peace Group 
Click Here for further details about Livesimply

A Surprising visit to St. Wilfrid’s Primary School

There are times when I am pleasantly surprised by the unexpected, as I was when I read this email from Dan, a teacher at St Wilfrid’s Primary School, York.


Dan and some of the children

‘I attended an RE course led by CAFOD in York back in the summer about the Universal Church. I was inspired by the story of Oscar Romero and my class were too when I took it back to them.

As part of an end of term project, the children picked a country that was in the football World Cup and created an information poster for each team. They were so good that we decided to display them in our playground, alongside food and music from each country. Parents were invited and the children made up a ’round the world’ quiz, with answers to the questions on the posters.

We raised nearly £200 at the event, and the children were adamant they wanted the money to go to people in El Salvador, after they had studied the country through their work on Romero.
We have a cheque waiting for CAFOD at school. I was wondering if you would be interested in coming to York and we could present it to you.’ Many thanks, Dan Jones.

I took Dan up on his offer and visited St Wilfrid’s last week – I got another surprise as KS2 were practising their Christmas songs with their head teacher Mrs Conway and I got to listen to them singing, they sounded beautiful!
Then I learned they had recently held a toy sale in school and presented me with a cheque for £400 for CAFOD.

St Wilfrid1I was overwhelmed by their generosity and thoughtfulness and thanked them on behalf of the people who would benefit from their kindness.

I would like to thank all our diocesan schools for the support they give to CAFOD throughout the school year.

I am aware of many calls on their generosity from other charities and they always try to help when they can and truly demonstrate putting their faith into action and helping others as a result, it is very inspiring to witness it!

CAFOD Harvest Fast Day Soup Lunch

CAFOD soup lunchOn Friday 5th October 2018 Year 9 from Sacred Heart Catholic Secondary in Redcar hosted a CAFOD soup lunch for parishioners and the local community of Redcar.

Every year the Academy supports the work of CAFOD by hosting events such as this soup lunch. The local community have come together to share a meal, as well as to raise awareness and money for CAFOD.

Sopu lunch 3The soup and bread rolls were made by the students during the morning. A bowl of soup and bread roll cost £1.50 with all proceeds going towards the work of CAFOD. We managed to raise £119.

It was great to see the smiles of the students when they were serving the food which they had worked hard to prepare earlier in the day. People who came to the soup lunch commented on how lovely the soup was and they were humbled knowing the students had been working hard in the kitchen.

Soup lunch 2