Great to see so many parish volunteers at meetings in Brockenhurst and Waterlooville.

Meeting at St Annes

Meeting at St Annes

What a fantastic meeting we had at St Anne’s Church Brockenhurst on Saturday 8th February. Sarah Burrows CAFOD’s emergency programmer officer came to speak about  our work in Syria and Lebanon.She told us that more than 11.5 million people have been forced from their homes (6.2m internally displaced people, 5.3m registered refugees in neighbouring countries) because of the conflict. CAFOD is supporting the refugees by providing relief items (emergency aid such as food, clean water, medicine, blankets, mattresses, hygiene kits) and also supporting local experts to provide education and counselling for the children.

Many  thanks to Michael and Andrea Janssens for organising the meeting and providing delicious home made biscuits and flapjacks, and to St Anne’s for hosting.

Volunteers and supporters

Volunteers and supporters

Our third CAFOD update meeting was held at Sacred Heart of Jesus & St Peter the Apostle Church in Waterloovile  on Monday 10th February. Despite the wet and windy weather we had a good turn out and we explored the Lent fast day materials and heard about CAFOD’s work with local experts . Sr Concilia is a pharmacist in Gokwe Zimbabwe and she  works tirelessly to save the lives of people who live a long way from a hospital . People come to her with malaria, typhoid, cholera and other illnesses and she helps to treat them by giving them medication, advice and checking on their health .

Many thanks to Tony Quinn for organising the meeting and to Sacred Heart for hosting.

There are 2 more meetings coming up Saturday 15th Feb at St Bede’s Basingstoke from 10:15am to 12:15pm and Saturday 22nd Feb at St Thomas of Canterbury Church Cowes from 11am to 1pm . Do come and join us!

Reflection Day on Living Simply at St Anne’s Brockenhurst

Maureen Thompson

Maureen Thompson

Thank you so much to Maureen Thompson (our livesimply assessor and Campaign Volunteer Coordinator for CAFOD Portsmouth) for leading a day of reflection at St Anne’s Church in Brockenhurst .St Anne’s are working on the livesimply award, which is an opportunity for parishes to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’ to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”.It is awarded to communities who can show how they have been living simply, in solidarity with people in poverty and sustainably with creation. So far five parishes in the Portsmouth diocese have achieved this award and it is great that St Anne’s have started their livesimply journey.

Maureen told me

“May I just express my thanks to St Anne’s Brockenhurst Care for Creation group for inviting me to share their lovely day of reflection.   As part of working towards the livesimply award Annabelle and the team planned a lovely day of information and reflection which focused on the Global Healing and Global caring films. https://www.ourcommonhome.co.uk/main-session commissioned by the Bishops conference.  These films  help to promote  the call in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: Care for our Common home  to “ecological conversion”

Maureen and her car

Maureen and her car

In support of the theme of the day I arranged with the church to be able to come in my electric car and plug in while I was there.We opened the day with one world week reflection on the creation story setting the scene for first film  which introduces Laudato Si’ and reflects on the wonders of God’s creation – in the setting of the New forest with all the trees and ponies  we were at a big advantage.

Discussion groups

Discussion groups

After the second film clip we split into groups to discuss our individual and corporate responses more deeply.  Although we concentrated on the smaller changes that we could manage as a parish community we did open the discussion to the major global shifts needed to move away from fossil fuels, make room for everyone and challenge economic systems. We prayed for the world leaders as they meet for COP25 in Madrid this week.

Lunch

Lunch

After a delicious  lunch we returned for a short talk from me about my trip with CAFOD to Poland for last years climate talks, and reflections on CAFOD’s continuing campaigning in support  of some of the world’s poorest people effected by climate change.

This was followed by the Bishop Arnold film clip https://www.ourcommonhome.co.uk/main-session-gc where he gives his personal transition to living more simply and he gives practical ideas which help people to look at the commitments they might make in support of the Laudato si pledge. http://livelaudatosi.org/

cAke

Cake

Finally we had a short liturgy which included the film clip from St Bernadette’s school hope for the future, some quiet time and ended with Pope Francis prayer from Laudato Si’.

Many thanks to Annabelle and her group for organising the day and to all those who attended. We look forward to hearing more about your livesimply journey next year!