Reflective Memorial Mass in the Beautiful Church Of Our Lady of Lourdes in Hungerford.

Book of Remembrance

Book of Remembrance

Thank you so much to Canon Peter for celebrating our CAFOD Portsmouth Mass of Remembrance for  volunteers and supporters who have passed away . The beautiful church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Hungerford was a lovely setting for mass on Sunday.  Many thanks to Anthony Fitzgerald our parish volunteer in Hungerford for organising the mass for us and to those who provided the delicious refreshments afterwards.

Book of Remembrance

Book of Remembrance

It was lovely to meet some of our supporters and volunteers from other parishes in the local area and thank you all so much for coming to the mass. I always find the Memorial mass such a moving occasion remembering all those CAFOD supporters and volunteers who have helped CAFOD reach out to the poorest and most vulnerable people in our world and are now enjoying the “heavenly banquet” with our Lord.

CAFOD Display

CAFOD Display

If you would like to host next year’s Memorial Mass in November 2019 in your parish then please let me know by calling 01252 329385 or email portsmouth@cafod.org.uk 

Excellent Day on Countering Consumerism in Ashurst

CAFOD Retreat at St Joseph's Ashurst.

CAFOD Retreat at St Joseph’s Ashurst.

Many thanks to Dan Hale ( head of CAFOD Campaigns ) for leading the retreat on Countering Consumerism on Saturday. It was an excellent day focusing on the Pope’s new letter Gaudete Et Exsultate ( Rejoice and Be Glad ), and his call to holiness. We started the morning with a reflection on The Beatitudes which led into an ice breaker where we split up into groups and introduced ourselves and shared which beatitude spoke most to us . We created a “web” using wool showing how we are all related to each other . After that there was time for individual reflection either in the beautiful chapel at St Joseph’s retreat centre or around the lovely grounds among the stunning autumn trees.

Ice breaker

Ice breaker

After a delicious lunch of soup and sandwiches we then followed the Jesuit tradition of an examination of conscience and focused on an ecological examne looking at 4 areas:- clothes, food, travel and electronics and how our choices impact on the world and each other. This exercise led to very interesting discussions and left us all with lots to think about. We ended the day with a closing liturgy exploring the webs that we had created in the morning . I hope that all those who came to the day found it as inspiring and challenging as I did!  

Ice breaker

Ice breaker

Many thanks to St Joseph Retreat Centre in Ashurst for hosting the day and thank you so much to all those who joined us for sharing your ideas and experiences.

If you would like to come to one of these retreats there is another one on 24th November at Romero House London from 10am to 4pm just book your place here

Ice breaker

Ice breaker

Mass of Thanksgiving for St Oscar Romero 24th November

Poster for mass

Poster for mass

A Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonisation of St Oscar Romero will be held on 24th November at Portsmouth Cathedral at 2pm. After the mass Stephen Davies (vice-chair of the Romero Trust) will give a talk about the life of St Oscar Romero .  Please do join us to celebrate the life of this inspirational saint.

Clare Dixon, CAFOD’s Head of Region for Latin America, who  has been leading CAFOD’ s development work in Latin America for nearly forty years which supported Romero’s church in the 1970s, explains the significance of St Oscar Romero’s Canonisation.

“Oscar Romero is revered in his native El Salvador. He ranks alongside the likes of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi as one of the most remarkable figures of the twentieth century. His canonisation will give Romero the wider recognition he so richly deserves – he denounced the violence which was tearing his country apart, he spoke out against oppression, and stood against injustice alongside people living in poverty.

During his time as Archbishop, Romero became known as the “voice of the voiceless”, after his sermons – which were broadcast across the country via his radio station – he spoke out against the military regime. In his last sermon, Romero called on the National Guard and the police to end the violence, saying:“Brothers, you are killing your fellow countrymen. No soldier has to obey an order to kill. In the name of God and in the name of the suffering people I implore you, I beg, I order you, stop the repression!”

Archbishop Romero

Archbishop Romero

A day later, on 24 March 1980, Oscar Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass. In May 2015, the church formally began the process of making Romero a saint through a beatification ceremony in El Salvador, which drew unprecedented crowds.

Romero didn’t simply talk about the need to love your neighbour, but courageously denounced the violence and named the injustices. He showed his solidarity with the poor and vulnerable, and called for justice and freedom. Today, El Salvador is still plagued by the legacy of the civil war. Society is deeply polarised, beset by organised crime – in 2016, there were over 5,200 murders – and endemic poverty.

Clare hopes that the celebration of Romero’s sainthood will be an inspiration to many in Latin America and worldwide who risk their lives championing the poor and marginalised in their communities. She said“I hope that Romero’s canonisation will be a source of unity and reconciliation not only within El Salvador but across our divided world.”

St Oscar Romero

St Oscar Romero

In the 1970s, CAFOD supported Romero’s famous radio broadcasts, which – at a time when the press was heavily censored – were often the only means by which people in El Salvador knew the truth about the atrocities occurring in their country. When Romero’s radio station was blown up, CAFOD provided funding to rebuild it. CAFOD also helped to fund the support given by the Church to thousands of people who had fled their homes because of the violence.

After Romero was martyred, CAFOD staff successfully petitioned Lambeth Council to rename the Brixton street where their office was located ‘Romero Close’. And when CAFOD moved to a new office in 2009, it was named ‘Romero House’.

CAFOD staff, partners and supporters have been at the forefront of the campaign to have Romero canonised, and continue to be inspired by his work. Around the world CAFOD works with Church leaders and other partners who speak out against the injustices in their countries.