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.


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!