Messages of Hope in the Houses of Parliament

Angela Wood is going to meet her MP and let her know how she feels about refugees. Can you join her?

Meeting MP
Meeting your MP is the best way to let them know your concerns

From Myanmar to the Mediterranean, refugees continue to flee from persecution and violence; yet there seems to be little political will do something about it. Undoubtedly it’s a difficult issue but if we don’t look for real and just solutions now it will only get worse.

Pope Francis is certainly concerned and clearly intends to do everything he can to make a difference. Back in August, to mark the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, he told us that “every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age.”

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Pope Francis meets refugees in Rome

In September 2018, world leaders will agree two new global ‘compacts’ (or agreements) at the United Nations: one on refugees and one on migration. Pope Francis has spoken of this as a ‘unique opportunity’ for Catholics worldwide to put pressure on governments.

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Father and baby seeking refuge in Greece

Next week, CAFOD are offering you an opportunity to do just that. From 4th to 8th December, we have been given the opportunity to display some “messages of hope” to refugees in the Houses of Parliament. Last year thousands of Catholics in England and Wales wrote messages of welcome, respect and love and we shared nearly 40,000 of them with refugees in the UK and overseas. Now we want to show our political leaders the strength of feeling on this issue throughout England and Wales.

Would you be willing to invite your MP to meet you in parliament and visit the exhibition together? You can find a sample letter here to help (Messages of Hope exhibition MP invitation)- just post or email it and hope for a positive response.

To make things easier, we’ve also organised a training session on “getting to know your MP” on Tuesday 5th December down in London so you might want to attend this before heading over to meet your MP. Angela Wood, one of our wonderful Campaigners from Hallam is going, so you will not be alone!

Rohingya crisis

Emergency aid is being given to vulnerable families who have fled their homes in Myanmar for Bangladesh.

If you can’t get down to London to meet your MP, you could always send them this letter to encourage them to visit on their own (Messages of Hope exhibition MP encouragement). And, if haven’t done so already, please sign our petition.

Every minute, 20 people around the world are newly displaced. Half of them are children. Let’s do something now to help.

 

St. Gerard’s pray for the deceased and reach out to the living

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD in Hallam, explains why he finds the people of st. Gerard’s so inspiring.

St. Gerards Memorial Mass 2017

Just some of the amazing St. Gerard’s Soup Slurpers

Yesterday we celebrated our annual CAFOD Memorial Mass here in the diocese of Hallam. It was a wonderful opportunity to remember friends and supporters of CAFOD who have passed away in the last year but was made all the more special by the warm welcome offered by Fr. Des Sexton and the people of St. Gerard’s, Rotherham.

There is a remarkable sense of community at St. Gerard’s, and you get the feeling that everybody looks out for everybody else. But their concern isn’t just limited to the parish- thanks to the “Soup Slurpers”, it reaches out to people all around the world.

Soup

Feed yourself and feed the hungry!

The Soup Slurpers meet every Wednesday in the parish room to share a soup lunch and raise money for CAFOD. Each week the members of the group make a small donation but it quickly adds up and, whenever there’s an emergency, they’re ready to help.

When we launched our East Africa Crisis appeal last March, they sent us a cheque for £811, a fantastic demonstration of their generosity. Thanks to that generosity, joined with that of parishes all over England and Wales, we’ve been able to provide food, water, healthcare and sanitation to the most vulnerable communities affected and change people’s lives for the better.

East Africa appeal family

A family displaced by the ongoing conflict arrived in Yirol, South Sudan and receive food aid from CAFOD’s local Caritas aid workers, Caritas Rumbek.

So why not slurp some soup yourselves? If you do it regularly, it’s not just a great way to support CAFOD but can really bring your parish community together. Start planning now and, by the time we get to Lent, you’ll be ready to get going. Or, if you move quickly, you might be ready to start in January and offer people a great way to keep up with their new year weight loss resolutions!

Memorial Mass

Please pray for our friends who have passed away

But back to the present. As we move through the last week of November towards Advent, please remember our friends and supporters who have passed away in the previous year. If you would like to spend some time praying for them, you can find their names by clicking on the link below.

 

CAFOD Hallam friends and supporters who have passed away this year

You might also like to remember one of your loved ones by setting up a Candlelight Fund, a special way to celebrate a life as well as a way to touch a thousand more.

Thank you.

New pathways out of poverty in Africa: the promise of sustainable and inclusive agricultural transformation

Some serious thinking on a subject close to our hearts…

You may have heard buzz words like ‘economic transformation’ and ‘agricultural transformation’ in government speeches, the media or (if you’re a bit of a policy wonk) if you follow some of the discussions at the AU, UNECA or regional bodies like SADC.

These are two key priorities for many African governments (and donor organisations) who are desperate for the continent to get on a new development path with greater levels of industrialisation and more job opportunities. This  new discourse  is therefore important for civil society organisations  to understand when we are designing and seeking to fund agriculture programmes.

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