Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator for Hallam, explains how everyone can have a happy Harvest.
This year the 6th October is a big day for me in more ways than one. Firstly, it’s my wife’s birthday. I’ll need to make my only cake of the year (it’s the thought that counts, or at least that’s what she tells me), marshal the kids to make cards for her and see if I can improve on last year’s present (but we really did need a new set of pans…).
Secondly, however, it’s Harvest Fast Day and so it’s also a really important time for CAFOD as we ask again for the Catholic community of England and Wales to show their generosity towards their sisters and brothers overseas. Fast Days provide us with a vital part of our income (£2.6 million last Lent) and it would be very much harder for us to operate successfully without the support we receive from them.
Crucial to this process are the people who volunteer for us in parishes, putting posters up and bulletin notices in, as well as arranging with the parish priest to speak about our work. The almost legendary “short talk” is an essential tool for getting the Fast Day message across. We know that parishioners appreciate hearing about our work and that it inspires them, really bringing Fast Day and our work to life.
This year we are focusing on Edelmira and her family, El Salvadorean farmers who, with your help, have been able to improve their agricultural practices and consequently grow more food for themselves. It’s an inspiring story in the midst of a country still being torn apart by violence.
The short talk is one of many resources we provide to make the whole thing as easy as possible. In addition, we have a “how to” guide, poster, prayer card and a sample envelope, all designed, in response to the feedback we have received over the years, to deliver maximum effect from minimum effort.
So please get involved. Here are some of the ways you can help:
- If you’re not sure if your parish has a CAFOD volunteer, please get in touch with us at the Volunteer Centre and we can let you know. If your parish doesn’t, and you’d like to help us in our mission, we would love you to get involved. You can contact us on email@example.com or 0114 268 7817 and we’ll send you all the resources you need in the next post.
- If you’re parish does have a volunteer, please offer to lend them a hand!
- If you are a parish volunteer (thank you!) and have yet to do so, now is the time to include a note in your bulletin and put up the poster. Please also have a word with your parish priest and ask him if you, or someone else, can do the short talk.
- Share our special Children’s Liturgy plan with your catechist team.
- The weekend before Fast Day (30th September and 1st October), please hand out the envelopes and the prayer cards to people as they leave church.
This year, we’re also asking people to organise soup lunches in their parishes as a way of bringing people together for a very good cause. It’s also a great way to give people an opportunity to help.
Thank you, in advance, for all you do to help us, both for Fast Day and throughout the rest of the year. We really appreciate your generosity and promise to make good use of it in helping some of the poorest people in the world. Have a happy Harvest!