Why I support and volunteer for CAFOD.

Maureen Thompson
Maureen Thompson

Maureen Thompson our parish volunteer at Emsworth and Campaign Volunteer Coordinator explains why she supports CAFOD.

CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, the official aid agency of the Bishops of England and Wales and it is also part of Caritas Internationalis a confederation of Catholic relief charities. (together making up the 2nd largest aid agency globally) Overseas aid is a very small part of the Church’s mission as it is with the government, but it has a significant part of our Christian witness part of our loving caring for all.

So as the official aid agency CAFOD involves every parish in supporting them to raise funds to fulfil the churches mission to reach some of the very poorest people across the world offering opportunity to improve their lives and live in dignity. 

 CAFOD also have a remit in supporting parishes and Catholic schools in education and spiritually to understand Catholic Social Teaching and to put into action our core beliefs in dignity of all life, dignity in opportunity to work and participate and in seeking justice and peace – our hope that God’s kingdom will come

Bishop Philip with Maureen Thompson & Jo Lewry
Bishop Philip with Maureen Thompson

In some ways CAFOD are like other development Agency it is part of the Disasters Emergency Council and collaborates with other charities for mutual benefit and sharing good practice.  However, as Church and as part of Caritas Internationalis they do offer a distinctive role in development and humanitarian response.

This year CAFOD produced a paper on this distinctive role called “7 ways the church makes a difference”.  I mention it here as I found it a useful summary with some practical examples and because its aim is to help government agencies to better understand the role of faith-based organisations and I think this is sometimes an issue for us in the UK’s mostly secular culture. Its main premise being that in most places in the world religious leaders hold peoples trust, churches are spread across the world often in isolated communities and stay long term.  CAFOD for example sometimes partners with other Caritas so they are often able to provide rapid local and inclusive humanitarian response in emergencies. Churches have a role in influencing social norms and behaviours, peacebuilding, mediation, and reconciliation.  They can have a particular role too in encouraging citizen participation speaking truth to power and witnessing and accompanying suffering, in many countries they are prime providers of quality and inclusive healthcare and education and in supporting sustainable livelihoods. All these qualities mean there can often be very effective partners for change.    

Maureen organised a meeting with Flick Drummond MP for Meon Valley

So, I have mentioned CAFOD fundraising, education, spirituality and the other aspect is why we are calling on your support is campaigning or speaking up. The Parliament in your parish initiative of CAFOD was very much motivated by Pope Francis latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti to encourage us to get involved and work for healthier societies through participating. We are all concerned for the world recovering from the pandemic in ways that include everyone and cares for our common home. Our hope is that Britain can play a leading role in this. We know this has been challenging for everyone and that there is a long road to recovery. We can get involved with this, locally, nationally and internationally by raising the question about how our wider world can build back a better!

As we all know 2021 is crucial year for Britain, we have already hosted the G7 summit and in November we will host the COP26 climate change summit so we hope all Catholics will support CAFOD is in speaking up to their MPS in person, on zoom or by letter.

Many thanks to Maureen for writing this article and sharing why she supports and volunteers for CAFOD.

Online talks coming up….

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Synodality: a new way of being the Catholic Church, Tue 27 Jul @ 7pm
Pope Francis urges us to participate in synod from October 2021. Join us in conversation with Christopher Lamb, Rome Correspondent for The Tablet and hear why it is critical for all of us to participate, why now and what is means for our global Church.
Register here

Talks for change: Stories from CAFOD champions, Thu 29 Jul @ 6pm
Join us for an inspiring evening of PechaKucha and prayer! Ideal for anyone aged 18 to 30, young leaders, students, and University chaplains. Come along to hear from our CAFOD champions, past present and future. Hear about the journeys with CAFOD and their involvement in campaigning, praying and volunteering for global and climate justice and how this has impacted them. Find out ways to get involved in this important year of campaigning ahead of COP26 to demand action for a cleaner and greener world.
Register here

Helping survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Thu 5 Aug @ 6pm
Join our representative Katy Nembe Katonda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reporting how the Olame Centre supports women who have survived sexual violence and rape with counselling and training. The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us of the importance of community support and inclusion. The isolation we’ve experienced through various lockdowns has been tough. However, isolation when you’re trying to heal from emotional and physical trauma, is next to impossible. Unfortunately, beyond the physical and mental trauma of their ordeal, women who have survived sexual violence are often shunned from their communities, accused of being traitors or diseased. As a result, they are outcasts and isolated.  
Register here
Young Leaders at G7 Summit

Email Rishi Sunak today

Please do join in this action.

CAFOD Arundel & Brighton Blog

CAFOD Campaigns and coalition partners are calling for an ambitious COP26. With just a few months to go you can add your name to our call for the Chancellor to step up to the challenge and prevent communities who’ve done least to cause the climate crisis from paying the biggest cost. It takes less than 90 seconds to get your voice heard, please sign-up.


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