Joy Filled Mass of Thanksgiving for Volunteers in the South East Region

Afternoon tea after the mass

Afternoon tea after the mass

Many thanks to all those who came to our annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Volunteers on Saturday 16th June at Our Lady Help of Christians Church Farnborough . It was lovely mass in which we thanked God for all our CAFOD volunteers in the South East region which includes Arundel and Brighton, Brentwood, East Anglia, Portsmouth, Southwark and Westminster dioceses.

Thank you so much to Fr Chris for hosting the mass and to Helen Priestley our parish volunteer at Our Lady Help of Christians for providing a fantastic afternoon tea afterwards. I would also like to thank Fr Marco who presided at the mass and who is the chaplain at the Salesian school in Chertsey and very involved in our CAFOD Youth Leadership programme at the school.

Tania talking about our work in Latin America

Tania talking about our work in Latin America

Tania Dalton, who is the communications officer for Latin America came and spoke very movingly about our work in Latin America. She told us how CAFOD supports the local radio which is a life line for people living in rural communities as it gives them information about weather, farming techniques and  supports them in their struggle for human rights.

She then spoke about an inspirational priest Fr Assis from Cape Verde, a Spiritan missionary priest,  who works in the favelas with the poor in Brazil.  The Spiritan fathers founded our partner MDF (Movement for the Defence of Favela Residents). We fund work carried out by MDF to lobby local authorities in Sao Paulo for decent living conditions in the favelas, such as sewerage, electricity, decent housing, title deeds.  It’s one of the partners that features in C2 Brazil. Fr Assis told Tania about his work

“For me, Church is people joining together for a common purpose. People coming together who want to make a change, who want to transform their neighbourhood. This is what Jesus Christ was doing. He didn’t build churches; he brought people together.”

“This is my vision of church: trembling, not indifferent, in the face of injustice.  This is what I believe in. We have to work for change in society. We don’t always manage it, but it means that we are friends of the poor and enemies of poverty.”

Many thanks to Tania for her inspirational talk.

Enjoying the afternoon tea

Enjoying the afternoon tea

Finally thank you to Martin Brown our CPC in Arundel and Brighton for organising the music for the mass and to Jane Crone CPC for East Anglia, Chris Driscoll CPC for Brentwood and Paul Whittle CPM for SE region for travelling such long distances to join us for the mass.

Enjoying the afternoon tea

Enjoying the afternoon tea

 

Corpus Christi Wokingham Share the Journey Walks

Starting the walk with prayer

Starting the walk with prayer

Thank you so much to Cathy Hill our parish volunteer at Corpus Christi Wokingham and the parishioners for getting involved in Share the Journey walks. Cathy organised a walk last Sunday.

Cathy told us “Forty-two parishioners (including 6 children) from Corpus Christi shared the Journey in the sunshine last Sunday starting inside church and pausing to hear more migrant stories as they walked around a nearby playing field. Many exchanged their own migrant journey memories and even refugee experiences and also those of people they knew from years passed. They reflected on how these differed from those happening around the world today. The distance travelled by the group was quite short at 25 miles but our conversations took us further. We finished the journey inside our parish rooms and enjoyed sharing refreshments.”

Walking

Walking

Also eight members of the parish Union of Catholic Mothers group walked a total of 10 miles in woodland one pleasant evening in May reflecting on the Share the Journey stories and prayers on their way. They finished off the evening with a pub meal!

UCM woodland walk

UCM woodland walk

One of the parishioners and a UCM member, Patty Prescott, with her sister walked part of the Camino from Sarria to Santiago de Compestela, 72 miles over 6 days, during May. They were able to share their journey comparing their chosen physical and spiritual one through the green and pleasant land of Galicia with those forced to flee their homes. “Although foot sore and tired each evening, we began each day with fresh vigour – related to this strong sense of journey that we both felt. We particularly gave thanks for our blessings, we had chosen this journey and not been forced to make it to save our lives.” Their journey’s end at Santiago cathedral was reached with amazement and some relief.

Patty walking the Camino

Patty walking the Camino

Many thanks to everyone who took part in a walk . Details of other Share the journey walks in the Portsmouth diocese are here or why not organise your own parish walk.

Share the Journey Walk in Southbourne

Starting off on the walk

Starting off on the walk

Many thanks to Marie-Claude our parish volunteer at Our Lady Queen of Peace Southbourne for organising a Share the Journey walk on Saturday. The group started at Our Lady Queen of Peace church and then walked to Hengistbury Head and back to the church. They walked  29 miles in total which will be added to the online totaliser.

Walking

Marie-Claude told me “We read the stories on the cards along the way and it was a very meaningful walk. We also read the prayer each time we stopped asking God to open our eyes to see the face of Christ in all we met along the way. It was fairly warm but we decided not to stop at the café on Hengistbury Head and yes to be thirsty, hot and tired by the time we got back to Church for our last story  final prayer. As somebody said, we had had a good night sleep before the walk, a good breakfast and were wearing good shoes and we knew we had a nice safe home to go back to, food and our families. It made us realise how lucky we are and we felt very close to our brothers and sisters who have nothing and have to flee their homes in desperation.  There were 9 of us to start the walk 7 who did the whole walk; 2 ladies did part of it. So together we walked 29 miles. It may not be a lot but we felt that every step we took was sending a message to world leaders.”

A well deserved rest

A well deserved rest

A HUGE THANK YOU to all those who took part in the walk and showed their concern for refugees.