Holy Rood collecting for Harvest

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator (CPC) for Hallam diocese, tells us the best thing about his job.

Yesterday was a good day. Not quite a getting married/having a baby/winning the lottery sort of day, but pretty good nonetheless.

Mother and baby

Khawla and her new baby, Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Arguably, the work of a CPC is not at the glamorous end of the CAFOD spectrum- we don’t jet out to foreign parts and see, first-hand, how our work is having a positive impact on people’s lives. However, what we do get to do is visit the parish communities who so generously support us. For me, it’s definitely the highlight of our job and yesterday was no exception.

Holy Rood people

Pat, Fr. Damian and John at Holy Rood, Barnsley

I’d been invited by Fr. Damian Humphries to speak at Holy Rood in Barnsley about Harvest Fast Day. For years, the parish has been a great supporter so I wasn’t surprised when I was greeted with a “You’re very welcome, Mr. CAFOD!”, and they meant it. Everyone I spoke to was so friendly it left me feeling like this was my home parish. However, it was especially good to meet John, our parish contact, and Pat, a woman with so much enthusiasm that she should bottle and sell it! Together with John’s wife, Sue, who was sadly unwell yesterday, they make sure that CAFOD’s mission remains high on the parish’s list of priorities.

But it’s not, of course, the only priority and John spoke to me about how there’s an increasing demand on people’s generosity; he’s concerned that as people are being asked for more and more, their ability to give to CAFOD will decrease.  Nevertheless, he thinks he’s found an answer and one that chimes perfectly with CAFOD’s commitment to Laudato Si’: recycling!

Trash for cash

Trade in your trash for cash with CAFOD

Did you know, that you can trade in your trash for cash? With only a little bit of effort, the stuff you no longer want or need can be converted into much-needed funds for CAFOD’s work. And the best bit, of course, is that it doesn’t cost you a penny!

We’ll always need people to be as generous as they can for our Fast Days but if, like John, we get creative, then there’s lots of ways we can generate a little extra. Barnsley may not be glamorous (though, to be fair, I didn’t see all of it) but it’s still a great place to be.

Are you ready for Harvest?

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator for Hallam, explains how everyone can have a happy Harvest.

Emma and cake

Emma and her cake!

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.

HFD17 poster

Harvest Fast Day poster

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.

 

Edelmira and son

Edelmira and her son

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 hallam@cafod.org.uk 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!

 

 

Leaving a legacy to CAFOD

An email brings a gift of love…

Will

Leave CAFOD a gift in your will

A month or so ago we received an email from a local solicitors’ office with news of a gift. As you might expect, we often have people giving us gifts but what made this a bit different was that the donor had recently died. Of course, it made it a little sad too, as our thoughts and prayers naturally extended to the deceased and her family; but, because of her generous gesture, that sadness was accompanied by love, a love that this lady must have shared with others in life just as she now did in death.

Love your neighbour

Love your nieghbour

At times like that it feels quite special to be working for CAFOD, an organisation that enables people to help others even from beyond the grave. Time and again we see the faithfulness of our supporters to the Lord’s command to love our neighbor. It’s that same faith which also tells us that, in doing this, we will share his eternal happiness in heaven. There are many rooms in our Father’s house and I pray that this woman is, even now, making herself comfortable in one of them.

In November, we will be celebrating the lives of all our deceased supporters in our annual Memorial Mass. This year it’s being held at St. Gerard’s in Rotherham, at 11 am on Sunday 26th November. It would be wonderful if you could join us. Even if you can’t, you can also add a love one’s name to our book of remembrance online.

If you are interested in leaving a legacy to CAFOD in your will, you can find out more about this on our website.