Why I support and volunteer for CAFOD.

Maureen Thompson
Maureen Thompson

Maureen Thompson our parish volunteer at Emsworth and Campaign Volunteer Coordinator explains why she supports CAFOD.

CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, the official aid agency of the Bishops of England and Wales and it is also part of Caritas Internationalis a confederation of Catholic relief charities. (together making up the 2nd largest aid agency globally) Overseas aid is a very small part of the Church’s mission as it is with the government, but it has a significant part of our Christian witness part of our loving caring for all.

So as the official aid agency CAFOD involves every parish in supporting them to raise funds to fulfil the churches mission to reach some of the very poorest people across the world offering opportunity to improve their lives and live in dignity. 

 CAFOD also have a remit in supporting parishes and Catholic schools in education and spiritually to understand Catholic Social Teaching and to put into action our core beliefs in dignity of all life, dignity in opportunity to work and participate and in seeking justice and peace – our hope that God’s kingdom will come

Bishop Philip with Maureen Thompson & Jo Lewry
Bishop Philip with Maureen Thompson

In some ways CAFOD are like other development Agency it is part of the Disasters Emergency Council and collaborates with other charities for mutual benefit and sharing good practice.  However, as Church and as part of Caritas Internationalis they do offer a distinctive role in development and humanitarian response.

This year CAFOD produced a paper on this distinctive role called “7 ways the church makes a difference”.  I mention it here as I found it a useful summary with some practical examples and because its aim is to help government agencies to better understand the role of faith-based organisations and I think this is sometimes an issue for us in the UK’s mostly secular culture. Its main premise being that in most places in the world religious leaders hold peoples trust, churches are spread across the world often in isolated communities and stay long term.  CAFOD for example sometimes partners with other Caritas so they are often able to provide rapid local and inclusive humanitarian response in emergencies. Churches have a role in influencing social norms and behaviours, peacebuilding, mediation, and reconciliation.  They can have a particular role too in encouraging citizen participation speaking truth to power and witnessing and accompanying suffering, in many countries they are prime providers of quality and inclusive healthcare and education and in supporting sustainable livelihoods. All these qualities mean there can often be very effective partners for change.    

Maureen organised a meeting with Flick Drummond MP for Meon Valley

So, I have mentioned CAFOD fundraising, education, spirituality and the other aspect is why we are calling on your support is campaigning or speaking up. The Parliament in your parish initiative of CAFOD was very much motivated by Pope Francis latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti to encourage us to get involved and work for healthier societies through participating. We are all concerned for the world recovering from the pandemic in ways that include everyone and cares for our common home. Our hope is that Britain can play a leading role in this. We know this has been challenging for everyone and that there is a long road to recovery. We can get involved with this, locally, nationally and internationally by raising the question about how our wider world can build back a better!

As we all know 2021 is crucial year for Britain, we have already hosted the G7 summit and in November we will host the COP26 climate change summit so we hope all Catholics will support CAFOD is in speaking up to their MPS in person, on zoom or by letter.

Many thanks to Maureen for writing this article and sharing why she supports and volunteers for CAFOD.

A HUGE THANK YOU to all our amazing volunteers!

  • Deirdre
  • Meeting at St Bedes

As we come to the end of June, a month where we have be celebrating our wonderful volunteers, I would like to say a personal thank you to every volunteer in the Portsmouth Diocese your support, love and concern for those communities that CAFOD works with has been truly amazing despite the difficulties you have faced in the last year. Thank you all so much!

Over the past 18 months volunteers throughout England and Wales have come together online to hear from our friends and partners around the world, and have joined in prayer at online Mass. When churches were unable to open their doors to congregations, volunteers did contactless collections, organised plant sales and walked, swam and ran to raise money. Education volunteers Zoomed into school assemblies and lessons because they were unable to visit in person.

A record-breaking year

  • 59,423 registrations to watch CAFOD online talks 
  • 13,510 supporters watched CAFOD online talks live
  • 4,229 supporters watched recordings of online talks 
  • Children’s Liturgy Live webinars brought 797 families to pray and worship online with CAFOD

The celebration of volunteer month culminates on Thursday 1st July with the Volunteer Forum with Christine Allen and Neil Thorns from 6:30pm to7:30pm followed by Mass with CAFOD trustee Fr Mark Odion.

Please register here

The final few days of the Walk for Water challenge!

So only 4 days left of CAFOD’s walk for water 10,000 steps a day for Lent challenge and as we head towards Holy Week and the end of Lent. I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has taken part in the challenge and to all those who have donated . I have been bowled over by the number of walkers from the Portsmouth Diocese. I certainly didn’t think there would be such a tremendous response and so many people willing to take on the challenge!

As of yesterday we have walked 7860 miles and raised over £24,000 AMAZING!

Thank you all so much! Please click through the slide show to see some of the wonderful walkers !

Here are some of the just giving pages of those taking part so if you haven’t donated already then please donate today!

Diana Polisano from St James & St William of York Reading

Alix from Fordingbridge

Mary from Winchester

Paula from English Martyrs Reading

Mary Anne and Robert Normand from St Peter’s Winchester

Matt from St Bedes Basingstoke

Ruth Cunio from Southampton

Matt Bewers from St Thomas Jersey

Charles from St James & St William of York Reading

Helen Shepherd Head teacher at St Mary & St Michael Primary school in Guernsey

Jill from Our Lady of Lourdes New Milton

Ian from Sacred Heart Hook

Journey in faith group from Southampton

Confirmation group at Woolhampton parish

Mel and Jack from English Martyrs Reading

Teresa and Phil from Our Lady of Sorrows Fordingbridge

Moira from St Edward the Confessor Chandler’s Ford

Weronika from Waterlloville

Annie and Richard from Corpus Christi Bournemouth

Paul Draper from St Thomas More Twyford

Jim from St James & St William of York Reading

Yvonne Scott from St Joseph & St Margaret Clitherow Bracknell

Deacon Tony from St Bedes Basingstoke

Walkers from St Josephs & SS Thomas Havant

Southampton Parishes group

David from Our Lady Queen of Peace Earley

Janet from St Bedes Basingstoke

Sylvie from Portsmouth Cathedral

Judy from Sacred Heart Fareham

Judith from St Bedes Basingstoke

And myself and my husband!