Join us in praying the Novena to St Francis in the last week of the Season of Creation.

CAFOD staff from the South East region dioceses  are inviting all the CAFOD supporters to join them in a Novena to St Francis at the end of the Season of Creation from Saturday 26th September to Sunday 4th October

We are coming to the end of The Season of Creation which started on 1st  September (World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation) and will finish on 4th  October (the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi).  This ecumenical season is dedicated to prayer and action for the protection of creation. It is a time to renew our relationships with God our Creator, and with all creation, as we join together in prayer. We give thanks for all that God has made, repent for the damage that we have caused and commit ourselves to take action to protect the earth our common home.  This year we have been made acutely aware of how interconnected we all are, and so we come together in hope that we can rebuild and heal our world.






What is the Novena to St Francis?

The Novena is made of nine brief reflections asking St Francis of Assisi to pray for us and our world, based on his beautiful Canticle of the Sun. This novena is a song of penitence and praise, guiding us to care for the earth and for our most vulnerable sisters and brothers, especially the Amazon peoples. They are currently under grave risk from coronavirus, given their fragile situation, often in remote locations far from government services. Communities with whom we work are reporting a sharp increase in predatory attacks on land. People smugglers are also active and those being trafficked are in more danger than ever, having no access to healthcare. The pandemic shows us that “we have not heard the cry of the poor and our seriously ill planet” warns Pope Francis, describing this as “a time to choose what matters and what passes away”. (Urbi et Orbi, 2020)#

How to do the Novena to St Francis with us ?

Book a date in your diary from 26th September to 4 October at 9 am or 7 pm (that’s when we will be doing it but you can choose your own timing!)Five minutes before the time open this link from CAFOD website :

At the time you have decided to start, scroll the page to the video you need for the day  ( 26th Sept = Prayer 1 = Sun) and click on the play button

Each has four phases: Canticle; Amazon voice; penitential prayer; plea for intercession. Each Video is less than a minute long so, do not hesitate to put the video on pause to reflect on what you have just heard, add your own penitential prayer and your intercession

Each Day do the same but change the video – For example – 27th Sept : Prayer 2 : Night Sky

Please send us a text saying “I joined the Novena” to let us know you were on with us, or send us a picture of what creation is for you on Whatsapp messages (07710 094447) , or tweet @cafodportsmouth  or facebook posts.   or email 

Passionate and Inspiring talk from Maria, CAFOD’s Head of International Development

Online Harvest meeting

Online Harvest meeting

On Saturday 19 October, over seventy CAFOD parish volunteers and supporters from the dioceses of Westminster, Portsmouth, East Anglia, Brentwood, Southwark and Arundel and Brighton came together for a Zoom ‘Harvest Appeal’ planning meeting.

The meeting began with a prayer and reflection after which, Maria Gonzalez, CAFOD’s Head of International Development, and guest speaker, pondered on Pope Francis’ words at his General Audience on 19 August when he said; ‘our response to the pandemic must be twofold:, finding a cure for this small terrible virus, but also curing a larger virus, that of social injustice, inequality of opportunity, marginalisation and lack of protection for the weakest.’ She continued that we must combat indiffierence, this throwaway culture, and be converted from individualism to enable our brothers and sisters to survive, heal and rebuild their lives. She emphasised that nothing was possible without the support of the generous volunteers and asked them to thank their counterparts in parishes too. She told them that they were not just raising money, but importantly, raising the voices of the vulnerable and the power that lies within that.

Maria Gonzalez

Maria Gonzalez

Maria encouraged the listeners to do what is possible within their communities to ‘cancel the debt’, so that the money saved, could be kept in the developing countries and spent on much needed food security and health care. This indeed, wasn’t mercy, but justice. She said that Ghana owed 3.8 billion on debt repayments and that it caused unbearable sacrifices on the local people and that it simply wasn’t right to demand people to repay the debt, if it led to hunger. The younger population would be paying heavily for the mistakes made by those before them. She asked supporters to go to the website and support the ‘Cancel the Debt Campaign’ and to engage, empower and inspire others to do likewise.

Maria then spoke specifically about how the donations from the supporters have enabled CAFOD to respond to the Covid-19 global pandemic alongside 155 partners in 31 countries worldwide, using new or repurposed grants for 210 projects.The support offered has varied according to the needs of the individual  countries but has included: providing families with emergency supplies, PPE, sanitizing equipment, Covid-19 tests​, awareness and hygiene training for communities, supporting livelihoods, providing better equipped and more accessible local health centres and services and, organising cash and voucher transfers with additional, appropriate assistance.She outlined examples of support given by CAFOD to different countries.

Sr Gertrude form the Handmaid sisters in PPE

Sr Gertrude from the Handmaid sisters in PPE

In Sierra Leone CAFOD has funded the Handmaid Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors and nurses at the Handmaids’ Catholic Health Clinic and Maternity Unit in Pendembu. As part of the coronavirus response in three districts of Sri Lanka;  food and hygiene packages have been distributed to 580 of the poorest and most vulnerable families. Packages have included; rice, sugar, vegetables, soap and face masks. At the distribution centres, the importance of hand washing, social distancing and use of face masks have been emphasised.

Handing out hygiene kits

Handing out hygiene kits

Maria concluded by thanking the supporters for the generous funding CAFOD has received in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Her key messages were that there is a sense of urgency and distress across the world and that the role of the Church was to support her sister churches and bring them hope and to raise their voices. She also said that everything that supporters can do is significant, whether they work backstage or frontstage, it doesn’t matter, but to do their bit in the circumstances they find themselves. The donations enable CAFOD and her partners to work with the most vulnerable people around the world, helping them to survive, rebuild and heal.

Her talk was followed by an opportunity for questions. When asked how a supporter can raise this message with the parish priest who has parish financial concerns; Maria advised saying we are part of a global family and urged that parishioners were at least given the information about the appeal and the opportunity to donate online should they wish, and not to decide on their behalf by withholding this information.

This year, the Harvest Family Fast Day Appeal is essential. In the words of Pope Francis ‘may the Gospel inspire us to find ever more creative ways to exercise charity, grounded in faith and anchored in hope, which can heal our wounded world and promote the true welfare of our entire human family.’CAFOD has admirably risen to the challenge of being ever more creative in reaching out to supporters in differing circumstances. There is however, still so much to do, which is why the Harvest Appeal this year is needed as never before!

Inspiring talk from Kayode our Country Representative for Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Online Harvest meeting 12th September

Online Harvest meeting 12th September

Wow it was great to see so many parish volunteers from Arundel & Brighton and Portsmouth Dioceses on Saturday 12th September for our first joint Harvest fast day online meeting. We were very privileged to have Kayode Akintola, our country Representative for Sierra Leone and Liberia joining us at the meeting.

Training faith leaders in Sierra Leone

Kayode Training faith leaders in Sierra Leone

The advantage of an online meeting was that Kayode could speak to us from his home in Freetown Sierra Leone. He told us how coronavirus was having a devastating impact on communities. Because of lock down farmers had been unable to go to their fields to sow seeds and those who relied on casual work for money to buy food were not earning any money so many families did not have food to eat. Also many rural communities do not have a near by access to clean water so hand washing is very difficult.

Access to water

Kayode thanked CAFOD volunteers and supporters for their help and support for the coronavirus appeal  Your donations have provided emergency food packages, hand washing and hygiene equipment, and PPE for health clinics and maternity units . However Kayode told us that the long term need for food supplies and access to clean water would mean that communities will need support for many months to come. He appealed for 3 things

  • To pray for the communities and the partners that CAFOD work with for example the Handmaid Sisters who run a clinic and maternity unit.
  • To donate to the Harvest Family fast day appeal
  • To ask the UK government to cancel the debt of the Sierra Leone and Liberia so that this money can be spent on combating coronavirus and health care.

    Sr Gertrude form the Handmaid sisters in PPE

    Sr Gertrude form the Handmaid sisters in PPE

Many thanks to everyone who came to the meeting .I hope that you found it as inspiring as I did.

We have a SE region Harvest fast day online meeting on Saturday 19th September from 10:30 am to 12 noon .You can book your place on eventbrite here