Fantastic talk about our work in Peru by Weronika

Weronika Ozieranska Regional Officer for Latin America

Weronika Ozieranska Regional Officer for Latin America

Many thanks to Weronika Ozieranska for her fantastic talk about CAFOD’s work in Peru at our Harvest fast day briefing at St Bede’s Church Basingstoke last week.  It was great to hear about Warmi Huasi which is project to provide children with a safe place to play, support them with homework and enable them to participate in their community. The project is based in impoverished outskirts of Lima called Lomas de Carabayllo. Weronika explained that many parents work in Lima which is a 2 hour bus ride away so the project provides somewhere for the children to go to after school.  The children are also encouraged to become involved in their local community and  create safe places to play.

Play area

Play area

Many thanks to St Bede’s for hosting the meeting and to Tony and Mary our parish volunteers at St Bede’s for helping to set up, clear away and serve teas and coffees. Thank you to all those who came to the meeting .

If you would like to hear more about our work in Peru  Weronika will be speaking at our  Harvest fast day briefing on Wednesday 19th September at English Martyrs Church Reading RG30 2EB from 7:15pm to 9pm and also on Saturday 22nd September at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church Southbourne BH6 3ER from 2:30pm to 4:30pm . To book your place please email 


Bishop Challoner School and St Joseph’s Parish Basingstoke walk over 4000 miles

Bishop Challoner

Bishop Challoner Headteacher and Charities Student Leaders

Thank you so much to students from Bishop Challoner Secondary School and  parishioners from St Joseph’s Parish Basingstoke for walking an amazing 4862.37 miles for the Share the Journey campaign.

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Ginny O’kelly who is our parish volunteer at St Joseph’s and is also the Charities  Coordinator at Bishop Challoner school told me about this fantastic achievement.

” On Monday 16th July Bishop Challoner  Secondary School, (610 students) walked down to our local sports field for our annual Sports Day. Also, many pupils and staff did individual walks beforehand, to and from school, walking dogs or just walking with friends. A group of parishioners from St. Josephs also took part in the Share the Journey walks to show their concern for the plight of refugees and migrants  .

At the school the Share the Journey walk started with everyone saying the prayer and each tutor group focused on one of the refugees from the Share the Journey leaflet. The walk was led by our two charities leaders who carried the Lampedusa Cross on the journey. The total of 4862.37 miles will be added to the online totaliser .”

So many thanks to  everyone who took part in a Share the Journey walk. We still have some walks in the diocese in July so do join them if you can.

Ginny O’Kelly Celebrating 25 years of Volunteering for CAFOD

Ginny O'Kelly

Ginny O’Kelly

What a pleasure it was to visit St Joseph’s Church Basingstoke on Sunday to thank Ginny O’Kelly for over twenty-five years of volunteering for CAFOD and to present her with a papal blessing in recognition of her support and dedication. Ginny has been  parishioner at St Joseph’s for over fifty years and in that time she has organised CAFOD hunger and soup lunches and spoken at Lent and Harvest fast days helping to raise over £1 million in the last 25 years. Through her work at Bishop Challoner secondary school she has encouraged students to become CAFOD supporters and participate in CAFOD campaigns .

Thank you so much Ginny for all you have done for CAFOD, for putting your faith into action and caring for you brothers and sisters living in poverty overseas. 

Fr Chris, Ginny and myself after the mass

Fr Chris, Ginny and myself after the mass

Ginny told me about her experience of  volunteering .

“I became involved with CAFOD around the time of Pope John Paul’s visit.   The first thing I helped out at was a rich man poor man supper at church, I did the cooking.

During the 90’s I began helping to run soup and bread Hunger  Lunches for the fast days and went to as many of CAFOD’s information days as possible to learn as much as I could.  I became active in promoting CAFOD at Bishop Challoner School and started teaching classes about CAFOD.  This was the time of The Bosnian war and my awareness of the plight of refugees began.

CAFOD began running public speaking training, which I attended and have spoken at Masses ever since; highlighting CAFOD’s work and campaigns and thanking supporters.  Over the years I’ve met a lot of interesting people, heard some fantastic speakers and learned a lot about what’s going on all over the world.

I have also done some very odd things such as giving out leaflets to shoppers in our town centre whilst standing next to a giant fish and slice of bread, all in the name of highlighting that the world has enough food for everyone yet some still go hungry.  I once took a party of young people to our local Argos where we were welcomed with smiles and treated like royalty, only for me to hand them over a petition saying that their company was selling gold products that were being mined in such a way as to harm whole communities in the developing world.  The press were there to record the event.

CAFOD work has involved me in doing a lot of cutting out too.  I’ve cut out 750 hands for youngsters to write messages to the Prime Minister for a campaign, 800 droplets of water for people to write messages on before being sent to the G8 Summit to ask them to tackle water poverty, 700 – 800 hearts for youngsters to write things they fear  are being threatened by climate change, and many more cutting and sticking activities.  I truly believe that enthusing the young is a good way to ensure that governments listen to CAFOD messages.

It’s not all been good, I have been heckled after speaking at mass and told by a few parishioners, quite vociferously, that things never change and people are sick of hearing about and helping the poor.  This knocked my confidence and stopped me wanting to talk in public, but not for long.  I’m committed to changing things for the poor and so thankful to be in a really generous parish.”

Inspired by Ginny to volunteer for CAFOD lots of information here or email