Congratulations to St Edward the Confessor’s CAFOD Group who were awarded a Papal Blessing for over 30 years of fundraising .

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I was delighted to visit St Edward the Confessor Church in Chandler’s Ford on Sunday to present the St Edward the Confessor CAFOD group with a Papal Blessing to congratulate them on over 30 years of fundraising for CAFOD.

In 1988 Fr Peter Wilkie parish priest of St Edward the Confessor asked for a volunteer to help with CAFOD family fast day envelopes. The regional organiser from CAFOD South visited the parish and encouraged a group to be set up and Cecily, Pauline and Sheila became involved.  However, at that time St Edwards was embarking on a £3-4 million extension so some of the parishioners were not keen on fundraising for CAFOD but Fr Peter told them “We must walk alongside the poor always” and so the St Edward the Confessor CAFOD group was established.

Since then, the group has grown in numbers and has not only raised funds at family fast days but has taken on board specific projects. The CAFOD group ensured that parishioners took ownership of the projects by encouraging them to vote on which projects they wanted to support.

Since 1988 this parish has supported over 15 projects including Connect 2 El Salvador, Connect 2 Peru and most recently Hand On Magdalena Medio peace building in Colombia. A total of £117,000 has been raised for these projects over the years which is just amazing. Not to mention the money donated at Harvest and Lent family fast days!

Projects that the group have supported

On behalf of CAFOD I would like to say a huge thank you to the present members of the group: – Margaret Birtwhistle, Meg Clapham, Cecily Exworthy, Sylvia Hendricks, Pam Marchesi, Maureen McFarlane, Moira Moriarty, Sheila O Neill, Freda Pierce. Pauline Wilson, Clare Fearon, June Wilson, Mary Vokes, Clare Lasker.

I would also like to remember those past members who are no longer with us:- Gill Farnsworth, Carol Williams, Eileen Milles, Cecilia Jones and Tess Cunningham.

3 years ago Clare, Cecily and Gill took part in CAFOD film about 30 years of soup lunches at St Edward the Confessor .

Thank you so much for your love and concern for those living in poverty overseas.

None of this would be possible without the support from the parishioners so thank you all for your generosity which has been truly amazing. Also many thanks to Fr Raffaele for all support that you give to the group.

The CAFOD Display at the church

Super Soup Suppers at St Edward the Confessor Church Chandler’s Ford

St Edward the Confessor Soup supper

St Edward the Confessor Soup supper

Each Friday evening during Lent, after mass and the stations of the cross  CAFOD parish volunteers at St Edward the Confessor Church in Chandler’s Ford organise a simple soup supper. The aim is to raise money for CAFOD  as well as providing an opportunity for parishioners to get together and share a simple meal in solidarity with those living in poverty overseas.

Many thanks to Clare, Cecily, Gill and June and to all those who help them for organising the soup suppers each week .The next one will be on Friday 29th March after the 7pm mass so do go along.

“Inspiring, Informative, Brilliant ” comments about Share the Journey Conference

Share the Journey Conference

Share the Journey Conference

Wow what an fantastic day we had on Saturday at our Share the Journey conference at St Edward the Confessor church listening to some amazing speakers. Here are some comments from people who attended the day

“I just wanted to say what a great day Saturday was and thanks for organising it. I found all the sessions inspiring and the presentation given by the Bangladeshi group was so moving; you hear or read about the issues they raised but to hear someone who has been directly affected speak really brings it home to you in a way no other way does”.

“The speakers were brilliant, informative, and inspiring, when they spoke from the heart. I struggled all day, to hold the tears back.
I must say the witnesses  always speak to me, and this time, I thought both
Pakhi and young girl on the tape, were amazing for different reasons.
Pakhi was so so brave to come and tell her story. I just felt so hopeless not to be able to communicate  with her, so I just say thank you, by holding her hands in mine. By her action she will change lives, and hopefully the law. We are very grateful  to her,  for opening my eyes to the plight of the migrant workers all over the world.
The young girl ( from Syria) spoke so well of the way her life had been change by  coming over. Again she was able to describe her situation in a foreign language. Which was amazing and very moving. ”

Members of OKUP

Members of OKUP

“An excellent inspirational day”  “Best conference I have been on so far..”

” An excellent day opened my eyes and made me think we should participate and not just observe”

Thank you so much to our speakers Alan Thomlinson CAFOD’s Programme manager for the Syria crisis, Sarah Croft from CAFOD’s Campaign team, Reverend Trevor Filtness and Terry from St John’s Rowland’s Castle, Regi Miesle from the Diocesan Refuge Response group and Rosie Lennon from the Rural Refugee Network.   Special thanks to Sahkirul, Faruque and Pakhi from  OKUP (Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan ) Program which is a community-based migrants organisation in Bangladesh and one of CAFOD’s  partners .

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Many thanks to St Edward the Confessor CAFOD volunteers for hosting the day and providing refreshments. Thank you to all those who attended the conference and took part in the first Share the Journey walk in the Portsmouth diocese. I hope you will be inspired to organise your own walk in your parish!