Our Step into the Gap volunteer Isabel Marsh, who is based at St Cassian retreat centre Kintbury is off to El Salvador to visit a CAFOD partner and see our work in action. She has written about her thoughts and feelings before she leaves, and we look forward to hearing about her trip when she returns.
I would like to wish everyone a joyful Christmas and a happy New Year, and to thank you for all your support to help bring about a fairer and more just world. I hope that we can continue to work together in 2018 and I look forward to seeing you at our Lent fast day briefings.
Best wishes Jo
A message from Lynda-
“Have a lovely Christmas CAFOD Portsmouth family! I wish you were all here with me in sunny Oz! I don’t miss the British weather but I do miss all of you! Love to you all and your families – Lynda xxxx’
Many thanks to Sarah Croft from the Campaigns team for leading the CAFOD retreat Journey to Justice on Saturday. It was great to have a day away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives to reflect on the life of Blessed Oscar Romero and his own personal journey of transformation. The beautiful retreat house at St Cuthman’s was an ideal venue with it’s peaceful chapel which overlooked the gardens, and the lovely lake and grounds.
In the morning we focused on Blessed Oscar Romero’s life and how he changed from a studious quiet priest to an archbishop who spoke out for the poor and was subsequently martyred.
In the afternoon we looked at Human Rights Defenders who are working in many countries around the world speaking out for the poor and seeking justice and fairness for all people. For example Javier Jahncke is a CAFOD partner who has spoken out against mining developments in Peru. These developments risk affecting biodiversity and water quality, and can have a devastating impact on the lives and health of the poor.
We then looked at our own journeys and how we need to be be continually converted in response to new and evolving challenges . In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis says that we all need to be converted, to have a change of heart, in response to the damage being done to our world. Our world today faces the same issues of greed and violence that Romero faced so we have a choice to respond in fear or in hope, to turn away or towards. Let us ask for Romero’s courage, his fidelity and his humility so that we can stand alongside the powerless and be a voice for the voiceless.