Our friend and supporter Fr Mark Hogan, parish priest at St Joseph’s church in Basingstoke, is about to embark on an epic adventure in aid of CAFOD and Camrose Centre: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro!
He is leaving tomorrow and he will be climbing next week, on 16-17 October – we will be keeping him in our prayers.
Here’s what he had to say….
“I’ve known of CAFOD’s work since I was at school (a LONG time ago!) but it wasn’t until I spent some time in Peru that I came across some of the projects they were involved in, working alongside local communities in faraway places. I’ve always been impressed by their local knowledge and the way they work in partnership with organisations on the ground.
Last year I decided that climbing Mount Kilimanjaro seemed like an obvious challenge for someone who likes doing daft things but is far too much of a coward to do anything like bungee jumping or parachuting or even climbing! 6 days of trekking will take me, God willing, to the top of Africa, just shy of 6,000m above the sea. 1½ days will allow me to slide back down again!
I’ve been trying to keep my fitness up but my biggest anxieties are the possibility of altitude sickness (so I have been training with a strange breathing mask on which makes me look like a baddie in a Batman film!); the walk round the crater near the summit and the sheer drops; and the very cold temperatures during the final push. I also read last night that more people have died on Kilimanjaro than Everest and have decided not to pass that information on to my mum!
But more than fear, I am filled with excitement at the challenge ahead, of the new people I will meet, of the time I will spend in closer harmony with God’s beautiful creation and of the promise of peace away from the pressures of a consumer culture in which so many of us try to live. By the grace of God, I will be able to offer some tiny support to some of those who don’t have many of the everyday things I so often take for granted and with which I have been so very blessed throughout my life.
With Pope Francis spending so much of his energy promoting the joy of the Christian faith and the need for a ‘Culture of Encounter’, I am privileged to be about to encounter this beautiful continent for the first time. And it fills me with joy that this personal challenge might also serve to funds for an organisation which works “with partners across the world, wherever the need is greatest, to bring hope, compassion and solidarity to poor communities, standing side by side with them to end poverty and injustice.”
We wish Fr Mark every best for this amazing adventure! And we look forward to hear about the whole experience on his return. Fr Mark hopes to raise £1,000 from his climb – to sponsor him, visit his Justgiving page.