Could you be a Climate Champion?

Young People preparing for COP 24 in Poland

Climate change, living sustainably and caring for creation are crucial parts of our faith. Our Climate Champion scheme is a volunteer opportunity that enables young adults to gain new experiences, meet others interested in tackling climate change and play their part in creating a better world.

CAFOD wants to recruit twenty 18-35 year-old volunteers based in the Catholic community of England and Wales as part of our Climates Champion scheme to become leaders in the community for tackling climate change.

What is climate champion?

CAFOD Climate Champions take part in workshops and a residential about sustainability and campaigning with other Catholic young adults from across England and Wales.

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Share The Journey Advent Service

The final Share the Journey event for 2018 was the Hull Advent Service organised by our CAFOD parish volunteers from across Hull and North Humberside. It was a truly multi-cultural event.
We gathered with our bishop, Rt. Rev Terence Patrick Drainey, the Rt. Rev Alison White, Anglican Bishop of Hull and Emma Hardy MP for Hull West, plus a good

share the journey

Arafa and her daughters

number of people of different faiths and cultures for a very moving and memorable service. The Rev James Benfield welcomed everyone to St Charles Borromeo Church which was thankfully warm. After the introduction and scripture reading, we heard from four members of the Dirar family, refugees who had fled from war in Sudan and lived in different refugee camps for twenty years. 


Life in Refugee Camp

Arafa, the mother, greeted us with a blessing of peace in her native tongue and her daughter translated it. She was full of gratitude to God and to everyone for being invited to speak to us. Then her son, Waieel, shared a poem he’d written, rap-like, capturing his own reflections on all he’d lived through from leaving his childhood home to arriving in Hull.

Bishop Alison gave the homily, reflecting on sharing journey’s and the African Drummers and United Voices choir and musicians made up of people from many countries further enriched the service, under the expert conducting of Gabrielle Awre.

As we had arrived in the church, our eyes were drawn upwards to four paintings hanging above the benches, they were of different scenes but I kept returning to one of a woman, facing away, sitting on a rock in a barren land, it was of Arafa. There were others along the altar rails capturing other memories of various stages of the long journey they had undertaken.


Painted image of a woman facing away

Speaking with them after the service, I learned the family had painted the pictures themselves in a room in their home and they had been displayed at the Freedom Festival. They are haunting. The family had travelled from Sudan and lived in refugee camps in Libya and Cairo before coming to England. For people who had endured such suffering they were amazingly happy and truly grateful for all they now have.

The twin girls, Mays and Gaida, told me they hadn’t been to school for more than four years in the refugee camp and were now studying in college, one, art and the other, chemistry and physics, while Waieel is studying computer technology. It’s wonderful that they now have opportunities to flourish. I’m sure they will enrich the lives of many people with their talents.


Refugees collecting water

The words of Pope Francis rang true: “The future is made of you, it is made of encounters. the future of humankind isn’t exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies. But the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people, who recognise the other as you, and themselves as part of ‘us’. We all need each other.”

The service ended with a word of thanks from Bishop Terry and a joint blessing with Bishop Alison. Grateful thanks to all concerned with helping to organise such a wonderful event!

Carol Cross, Community Participation Coordinator, CAFOD Middlesbrough.


Gaudete et exsultate – Rejoice and be glad!

Rejoice and be glad

The new mothers group in Kariyangwe, Zimbabwe

It’s Volunteer’s Week and we at CAFOD Middlesbrough would like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to each and every one of our amazing volunteers.

They are some of the most generous people you could ever wish to meet. They are dedicated and tireless, innovative and energetic, kind and compassionate, humble and loving.

They are the life-blood of our organisation, helping us to promote and support our work in our parish and school communities which in turns helps us to complete life-changing programmes of work to improve the lives of some of the poorest people on earth. They come from a wide range of ages and backgrounds but they all have a passionate concern for people in any kind of need.

So, whether you volunteer with CAFOD in our volunteer centre, or speak at Mass or promote our Lent and Harvest fast days in your parish or by visiting our diocesan schools, or by campaigning we’d like to say a big THANK YOU – you are the salt of the earth and light of the world and living examples of faith in action.

If you will like to volunteer for CAFOD, you are more than welcome to join us, please contact us via Email:, or Tel: 01642 822301

In this way, led by God’s grace, we shape by many small gestures the holiness God has willed for us, not as men and women sufficient unto ourselves but rather “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”. (Pope Francis, Gaudete et exsultate)