Maureen tells us about Emsworth’s Virtual Pilgrimage and signing the Coronavirus petition

Map of pilgrimage route

Map of pilgrimage route

Our world has changed so much now, much more has to be done from our armchairs. Sometimes it can be a bit lonely and our levels of anxiety are high so Maureen our campaigns volunteer from Emsworth  has come up with the idea of virtually making the trip the parish was considering to travel to Canterbury  to commemorate  850 years since the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. A spiritual journey supported by our daily exercise each day.  We  have been “walking”  for 12 days  sharing our prayer and actions with fellow travellers as we imagine a journey  along the Old Way along the south downs  to Canterbury . www.emsworthchristians.com

Pyecomb

Pyecomb

This week Alison  one of our school volunteers who has joined the pilgrimage is encouraging everyone to sign the latest CAFOD petition https://e-activist.com/page/59334/petition/1

Alison says “As you walk through the attractive villages and beautiful, lush countryside between Clayton and Plumpton, or wherever your virtual pilgrimage takes you, I ask you to allow your thoughts to travel many miles away to the people in the developing world who have nothing to protect them from the devastating impact of coronavirus. In these countries millions of people, already struggling to feed their families, now face extreme hunger as jobs are lost and markets shut down.

These vulnerable families are ill equipped to fight the virus.  The public health systems are totally inadequate.  Many countries have shortages of the most basic supplies such as masks, oxygen and even soap and water.  Some do not have a single ventilator.

The scale of the crisis is frightening as the pandemic spreads across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East as well as among refugee camps and displaced populations in countries such as Syria, South Sudan and Bangladesh.  We must reach out to them. If you feel able, please add your name to a petition set up by CAFOD asking the Government to play its part.” 

Please remember them in your prayers

Restoring and healing God, we pray for all those suffering across the world because of the Pandemic.  May these extraordinary times galvanise our world leaders to work together in an effort to make deep and lasting changes to the injustices that cause so much misery and premature deaths in the developing world and in areas of conflict.  Give us the strength and courage to speak up for those who have no voice and to do our part to make the world a better place.  Amen

 

Hand washing in Zimbabwe

Hand washing in Zimbabwe

Young Leaders at Salesian College focus on SDG No Poverty !

Young Leaders Assembly

Young Leaders leading the assembly

Many thanks to our Young leaders from Salesian College Farnborough for raising awareness about poverty and the work that CAFOD does in a school assembly.

One of the Young Leaders sent this report to me

“Earlier this week we celebrated mass at school; we used this opportunity as a CAFOD group to exhibit our presentation on poverty.

Young Leaders

Young Leaders

Our introduction was a pragmatic definition of poverty, which moved into, with the next speaker, a demonstration – with the statistics gathered transposed proportionally on the attendants of mass, as in, the school community. A certain number of years were told to stand, then: “Poverty affects 3 billion people in the world. This is 39% of the population. So, if our school was a representation of the global population, each one of those years would be living in poverty.” The process we extended to the other statistics, a number of years or a half of the room told to stand to illustrate a damning litany of facts that rolls on outside the walls of our school, by which none of us are affected, culminating with the 1% of the population who live on or above £23,000 p.a., whom we represented by placing 7 comfier chairs in the audience. These 7 people, we said, out of 700, would get the opportunity to receive a special lunch later in the day for him or her and a friend, plus a packet of skittles “for no other reason than the place they sat down today”.

1 in 100

Then we discussed the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, and the optimism and realities concerned with them, then an overview of Catholic social teaching – that everyone is made in God’s image, and by God’s image should anyone expect to be treated. And to end, an overview of the steps we’ve taken as a group to publicise the charity, and our future plans:

“This year, CAFOD has recommended that the Young Leaders focus on one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Our team has chosen to focus on the goal of No Poverty. So far we’ve created social media accounts on both Twitter and Instagram to spread awareness of the work CAFOD is doing. We have also prepared the Privilege Day we mentioned earlier. Next term we plan to focus on fundraising and we’ll continue to try and raise awareness by doing some smaller assemblies. We hope that you can fully take part in the activities in the future and help the college to support CAFOD, an important part of Salesian life.”

I personally believe we have made an unambiguous introduction to CAFOD for the new Year 7s, and that a spark for most people, (given the originality of this assembly within school assembly tradition) if not already lit, has been relit to see with more passionate detail the undertaking of this charity. But also of charity in generality. Thus I say that accordingly, future help will be readily at hand.”

We look forward to hearing about your fundraising activities. Thank you so much!

Reflection Day on Living Simply at St Anne’s Brockenhurst

Maureen Thompson

Maureen Thompson

Thank you so much to Maureen Thompson (our livesimply assessor and Campaign Volunteer Coordinator for CAFOD Portsmouth) for leading a day of reflection at St Anne’s Church in Brockenhurst .St Anne’s are working on the livesimply award, which is an opportunity for parishes to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’ to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”.It is awarded to communities who can show how they have been living simply, in solidarity with people in poverty and sustainably with creation. So far five parishes in the Portsmouth diocese have achieved this award and it is great that St Anne’s have started their livesimply journey.

Maureen told me

“May I just express my thanks to St Anne’s Brockenhurst Care for Creation group for inviting me to share their lovely day of reflection.   As part of working towards the livesimply award Annabelle and the team planned a lovely day of information and reflection which focused on the Global Healing and Global caring films. https://www.ourcommonhome.co.uk/main-session commissioned by the Bishops conference.  These films  help to promote  the call in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: Care for our Common home  to “ecological conversion”

Maureen and her car

Maureen and her car

In support of the theme of the day I arranged with the church to be able to come in my electric car and plug in while I was there.We opened the day with one world week reflection on the creation story setting the scene for first film  which introduces Laudato Si’ and reflects on the wonders of God’s creation – in the setting of the New forest with all the trees and ponies  we were at a big advantage.

Discussion groups

Discussion groups

After the second film clip we split into groups to discuss our individual and corporate responses more deeply.  Although we concentrated on the smaller changes that we could manage as a parish community we did open the discussion to the major global shifts needed to move away from fossil fuels, make room for everyone and challenge economic systems. We prayed for the world leaders as they meet for COP25 in Madrid this week.

Lunch

Lunch

After a delicious  lunch we returned for a short talk from me about my trip with CAFOD to Poland for last years climate talks, and reflections on CAFOD’s continuing campaigning in support  of some of the world’s poorest people effected by climate change.

This was followed by the Bishop Arnold film clip https://www.ourcommonhome.co.uk/main-session-gc where he gives his personal transition to living more simply and he gives practical ideas which help people to look at the commitments they might make in support of the Laudato si pledge. http://livelaudatosi.org/

cAke

Cake

Finally we had a short liturgy which included the film clip from St Bernadette’s school hope for the future, some quiet time and ended with Pope Francis prayer from Laudato Si’.

Many thanks to Annabelle and her group for organising the day and to all those who attended. We look forward to hearing more about your livesimply journey next year!