Inspiring talks from Libby (CAFOD) and Fr Richard McKay at Living Simply Conference

Conference attendees

What an inspiring day we had on Saturday at the joint CAFOD and Caritas Portsmouth conference “Living simply and in solidarity with the poor”. Many thanks to St Peter’s in Winchester for hosting the day and special thanks to our speakers Libby Abbot Campaigns Officer at CAFOD and Fr Richard McKay .

Libby Abbot

Libby started off the day focusing on living simply. She shared her experience of visiting   the South Pacific islands of Siti Levu and Yasawas and how climate change is effecting them today.  Rising sea levels mean higher and lower tides, and warmer water is bleaching the coral reefs and making it uninhabitable for the fish and other sea life.   She meet with CAFOD partner Caritas Fiji  to discuss disaster risk reduction work as storms are getting stronger and sometimes reaching category 5  with wind speeds of up to 145 miles per hour.

Next Libby talked about CAFOD’ s new campaign Our Common Home and shared the many ways to get involved from signing a petition to the Prime Minister which can be printed off so that other parishioners can sign as well , to organising a Creation Celebration Mass in your parish and coming to the Time is Now Climate Change lobby of parliament on 26th June to meet with your MP.

Fr Richard McKay

Fr Richard McKay the parish priest from St Nicholas of Tolentino, an inner city parish in Bristol, spoke about how to live in solidarity with the poor. He started with Christ words echoing Isaiah “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free..” Luke 4:14 -21

He described how his parish supports those in need in the local area including refugees and asylum seekers. Their parish mission ..”is to be a people at the service of the poor, both locally and globally; to be a community of warmth and welcome; to be a community of healing and hope.”  He told moving stories about the parishes’ work with asylum seekers and the setting up of their charity Borderlands from Exclusion to Belonging. He challenged us all to “open ” the doors of the church, to welcome everyone and to be a “field hospital” for those in need.

” Fr Richard’s talk  eloquently linked faith and holiness with action for the poor ” attendee at the conference.

Anne Dodd

In the afternoon we had a workshop on how to become a livesimply parish led by Anne Dodd from Our Lady and St Edmund’s parish in Abingdon who achieved the award in 2017 . Kevin Gallagher, director of Caritas Portsmouth led a workshop on the different Cartias projects in the diocese.

Caritas workshop

Thank you to all those who came and I hope you found the day as inspiring and challenging as I did !

Young Leaders are Climate Change Zero Heroes.

Young Leaders making a zero

Great to see our Young Leaders from Farnborough Hill, St Anne’s Southampton , St Joseph’s College Reading and Salesian College Farnborough at our third training day yesterday. We had a fantastic day exploring problem solving skills and campaigning.

String Game

The day kicked off with the string game where groups of 7 students had to make different letters and numbers using string but with their eyes closed. There were some hilarious results but the students found creative ways to tackle this challenge.

After the icebreaker the Young Leaders shared the fundraising activities they organised last term to raise money for the Lent fast day appeal. These ranged from a sponsored silence to soup lunches to fairtrade tasting and no phone days. Thank you so much for all your fantastic fundraising activities.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the afternoon we looked at past CAFOD campaigns and the different ways of campaigning,  and then launched our new Our Common Home campaign on climate change. We challenged the students to come up with exciting  ideas on how to be Zero Heroes and engage their school community in this campaign which calls on the government to pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2045. This means only putting the same amount of emissions into the atmosphere as we take out. For example, cutting our use of fossil fuels and protecting and planting trees, which take in carbon dioxide as they grow.

We look forward to hearing  how the Young Leaders engage their communities in the campaign at our celebration day on 25th June at Romero House where Young leaders from around the country will gather to celebrate their achievements and be presented with their certificates.

Many thanks to Farnborough Hill school for hosting the third day and for providing a very warm welcome and a delicious lunch!. Also a huge thank you to the staff accompaniers who have supported the students throughout the year, and to Sarah Burrows CAFOD’s Youth Leadership coordinator who has planned and led each training day.

Finally thank you to all the Young Leaders whose enthusiasm and energy is truly inspiring…. looking forward to seeing you on the 25th June.

Our Common Home – new campaign

Campaign poster

Campaign poster

“Creation is of the order of love. God’s love is the fundamental moving force in all created things.”  Pope Francis Laudato Si’: Care of our Common home #77

“The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole”. Pope Benedict Caritas Veritae #48

Our Common home is our new campaign on climate change. Climate change affects our health, our homes, our heritage and our beautiful landscapes. It ruins the work we do to fight poverty and to lead better lives. We have made huge progress on climate change, but things are urgent now.

We need to work together to go further, faster to end climate change. Together we Catholics can turn the tide. We can treat our home with respect by leading the way, taking responsibility and forging new habits. We can call on politicians to go further and faster with emissions cuts.  We need everyone to get involved so here is how:-